By Doug gross
(CNN) – Hipsters, rejoice. Next time you ride your fixed gear bike to the thrift store, where you find a classic grease-stained mechanic’s shirt that goes well with your Rollie Fingers mustache and Grizzly Adams beard, there’s a sassy way, although inferior from a technological point of view, to tell your friends.
Use a flip phone.
If you are from a mobile, look at the photos here
In the age of the iPhone 6 Plus and massive Android phablets, foldable phones are inexplicably back.
As unbelievable as it may sound, a fashion referee like Vogue editor Anna Wintour has apparently traded in her iPhone for a flip phone. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, actress Kate Beckinsale and even Rihanna are just a few of the celebrities who have been seen proudly wearing the famous piece of Paleolithic technology.
And believe it or not, “dumb phones” aren’t exactly the elusive unicorn some of us think they are.
As of January, 56% of American adults owned smartphones, compared with a total of 90% who owned a mobile phone of some kind, according to the Pew Research Internet Project. Among millennials ages 18-29, an overwhelming 83% of those who owned cell phones owned a smartphone, but that leaves the other 17% with a more basic cell phone.
The hinged, snap-lock lid form was originally introduced to the public in 1982 by laptop manufacturer GriD with its Compass computer.
Motorola, arguably the king of folding phones with its Razr line, introduced the clamshell style in 1996 with its StarTAC phone (which, fittingly enough, was re-released in 2010 for nostalgic tech lovers).
Is it really about a retro and hipster level of respect? There is sometimes a baffling aspect to what’s “in” that revolves around dispensing with modern convenience for old … shall we say … inconvenience.
Use typewriters? Ready. Racing tall-wheeled bikes from the 1880s? Yes. Play baseball by the 1860s rules and equipment? Definitely.
But there are obviously practical reasons why more people, including millennials, are opting for a flip phone.
For some, it’s about keeping things simple and clearing up in a society that is connected 24/7.
“It just seemed like it was a better option for my confused brain than a smartphone,” Angelica Baker, a 26-year-old tutor and writer, told TIME. “Personally, I am too distracted and unfocused to handle my email and Facebook on my phone.”
Baker traded in his Droid for his mother’s retired flip phone, a pink Motorola Razr.
No one has to worry about iCloud data being stolen when using a flip phone. There is no strain on the eyes and neck. There is no fear of getting addicted to Flappy Bird.
And, let’s be honest … there is something satisfying about slamming the phone cover after having an annoying phone conversation, something that even the most forceful touch on a touch screen will never match.
Maybe the hipsters are up to something after all. Although we will continue to reject bushy beards.