Non-smartphones the new protest statement
New York – Exactly one year ago, Roman Cochet swapped his $500 iPhone 7 for a $30 LG flip phone.
Overwhelmed by constant alerts, Cochet felt his time was disrupted, his creativity drained. His flip doesn’t do email, Instagram, Facebook, Uber or news alerts. The 30-year-old Parisian painter, who lives in Brooklyn, said he regrets nothing.
“With a smartphone, you spend so much time texting, talking, in constant communication, that you don’t have time to do anything else,” Cochet said. “I’m way more focused now on what I’m doing. I’m less distracted.”
In an age where everyone seems glued to their smartphone, the flip phone is turning into a statement of protest and individuality.
These relics of the 1990s, still in wide use as disposable “burners” by crooks and FBI informants, are prized by a wider population for their simplicity, durability and affordability, not to mention their low-tech appeal to the burgeoning #DeleteFacebook crowd.
Wait Until 8th, an organization that urges parents to delay their children’s smartphone use until eighth grade, has an ad that reads, “Need to get in touch with your child? Buy a flip phone.” The group has collected roughly 10,000 signatures from all 50 states in March.
About 24 million Americans own a nonsmartphone, according to Forrester Research. It’s still enough of a novelty that celebrity flip phone users are immediately outed on Twitter and Instagram when spotted in the wild.
Flip phone users include Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis and Frances McDormand, pop star Rihanna, NFL quarterback Andrew Luck, billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Steve Van Dinter, Verizon’s public relations manager for the Great Lakes market, said there’s definitely a “subset” of customers who buy flip phones, primarily those who work outdoors and need a device that can withstand drops, corrosive materials, water and other extreme conditions.
Verizon wouldn’t continue to stock them, he said, if there wasn’t “consistent demand.” The latest models have access to 4G LTE, HD voice and the ability to create a mobile hotspot for up to 10 devices.
Cochet said some of his artist friends dismiss his choice of phone as a hipster affectation, an artist’s asceticism. But his studio, scattered with paint cans and empty beer bottles, is now void of a smartphone’s distractions. The phone itself is a throwaway object smeared with paint, the keypad indiscernible.
Cochet said he’s also become more con-
tells the officers the two men were waiting for him. An officer says the men were not complying and were being arrested for trespassing.
“Why would they be asked to leave?” Yaffe says. “Does anybody else think this is ridiculous? It’s absolute discrimination.”
A woman can be heard in the video saying “they didn’t do anything, I saw the entire thing.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the city will review its guidelines on how to respond to future requests for police assistance.
Police haven’t announced the names of the men, who were released after the district attorney’s office said there was lack of evidence that a crime had been committed.
Asked if the incident was a case of racism, Johnson responded: “Starbucks was built around the concept of a third place where we create a warm and welcoming environment for all customers. What I do know is that did not happen in this instance. And that is what we’re focused on.”
Philadelphia-born comedian Kevin Hart had taken to Twitter on Monday to vent about the arrests, saying the company failed to take advantage of an opportunity to call out racial profiling. He says the employee who called police should have been fired.
On Sunday he tweeted, “Our city is shining bright like a diamond right now. Please make this situation right.”
Seattle-based Starbucks had posted a statement on Twitter over the weekend about the arrests, followed by an apology from Johnson.
“Every company makes mistakes, but great companies are the ones that learn from those mistakes and take appropriate action,” Johnson said Monday. “And that’s exactly what I intend to do. We’re reviewing all aspects of this.”
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said he hopes to meet with the two men who were arrested and apologize face to face.