Light is back with a new twist on its anti-smartphone phone. But this time, instead of doing just one thing, the Light Phone 2 does a few, and exists somewhere between the original Light and your overwrought iPhone – though still far closer to the first-generation Light phone overall.
The new design features a matte finish e-ink display, which occupies most fo the front face of the device and can show text, act as a virtual keyboard for sending messages, show your contacts and alarms and more. The phone uses Light’s own proprietary operating system, which is heavy on the text and limited on the total number of options and features, and you use physical keys on the side of the phone to navigate through menu options.
The Light Phone 2 has 4G LTE connectivity and, since it’s not yet finalized but is instead kicking off its Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign, could add features including directions, ride-sharing specific apps, playlists, weather reports, and voice commands according to the company’s founders, on top of the basic call, messaging, contact book, alarm and auto-reply features that are definitely going in. Whether those other add-on features make the cut will depend in some part on backer feedback.
But with those potential additions, plus the larger, device-commanding active display, the Light Phone 2 is starting to sound a lot more smartphone-y and a lot less “Just a phone.” But LIght’s creators say that it’s definitely not, under any circumstances, going to add social media, advertising, email or news features to the phone.
Really, those are the things that truly turn our mobile companions into huge time sucks and mood altering devices. Light Phone 2 is definitely more of a compromise than a purist dumbphone like the original, but it still also sounds like it fits the company’s chosen tagline of being “a phone for humans” better than your average flagship smartphone does today.
Light’s been out of stock of its current generation device for a while now, which was probably because it was looking forward to this launch. The phone’s Indiegogo campaign has $225 as the early bird price for the device, with $400 as the target retail cost, and estimated shipping is April of next year (yes, over a year away) so the company also seems to have learned a lesson or two about manufacturing and shipping hardware, and is giving itself ample buffer for this redesign.
Nokia is relaunching its ‘Matrix’ slider phone and other high-concept simple phones like the Punkt MP01 are out there trying to wean people away from their smartphone habits. It’s an appealing dream, but it’s hard to tell if it’s just a brief hiccup due to information ennui, or a real movement in the early offing. How Light Phone 2’s campaign does overall might be another indicator as to which it ends up being.