Blog skyhook logo Is it time to buy a feature phone? Reducing screen time in a pandemic world

Feb 18, 2021 11:38:34 AM

Is it time to buy a feature phone? Reducing screen time in a pandemic world

Posted by Isolde Decker-Lucke

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In an increasingly connected world that is also going through a pandemic, access to normal forms of socialization and entertainment are limited, and screen fatigue has become a common struggle. Whether we’re on our phones sending emails, scrolling through social media, watching videos or playing games, we’re looking at them more than ever. Our smartphones provide endless entertainment, but is it time to take a step back from the constant temptation of smart phones and purchase a feature phone?
Feature phones may be the solution for people looking for a simpler option, without losing the ability to call or text a friend. A feature phone is a mobile phone that can complete basic functions, but does not have all of the capabilities of a smartphone. These phones are usually created with cost-savings in mind and as a result, traditionally have buttons and a smaller display, but still often include basic location capabilities and some even have apps and internet access. 
Feature phones are great options for those looking to save money on phone bills or limit the allure of social media. Reducing screen time is good for mental health too, especially when dealing with the stress of life during a pandemic. Feature phones typically have very limited app and internet capabilities, so there are fewer temptations to waste time on the device. The location aspect of the feature phone is critical, as it ensures that users are still able to leverage emergency positioning - providing a precise location point to emergency responders if needed. 
Another option is a smart feature phone. Whereas feature phones offer primarily call and text features, a smart feature phone has a similar look to a feature phone, but it connects to the internet and offers a hybrid option for those looking for less features - but still some. This phone offering has increased functions compared to a straight-forward feature phone, these may include navigation and applications like weather, social media, location-based apps, and commerce. The mapping feature of a smart feature phone is a big differentiator as many people depend on their phones for directions these days. 
Less time spent on a smartphone allows for more time outdoors during the pandemic. Outdoor, naturally socially distanced activities like hiking, boating, snowshoeing, rock climbing and more have become increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially after people have been spending almost all of their time in indoors at home. With the assurance of having basic location emergency positioning capabilities and also reduced battery drain, feature phones are perfect devices for spending time outdoors. Rugged phones that are specifically built to withstand shock, vibration, humidity, heat and cold are particularly great options for outdoor adventuring. 
At Skyhook, we provide location positioning services for companies creating connected devices, and we’ve seen an increase in our feature phone partnerships over the last year. Kyocera's DuraXV Extreme phone is one type of feature phone that is a strong option for switching out your smartphone. Named one of the Best Non-Smartphones,’ the DuraXV Extreme chose Skyhook’s location services for our accurate location, the minimal impact on device hardware, as well as it’s battery-efficiency.  
If you’re looking to spend more time away from the pull of your smartphone, a feature phone may be the right choice for you. Also, if you’re not ready to completely say goodbye - there is a slowly growing group of people who are buying feature phones as secondary phones so they can have the best of both worlds. ‘Smart’ feature phones are also available with functions like multimedia and internet capabilities that are still a step down from smartphone capabilities. 
Find out more about Skyhook’s Precision Location solution here: 
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