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In U.S. sales of dumb phones are up

It appears that American users of mobile phones are shifting every so slightly away from smart phones, with sales of simple flip-phones lacking a screen rising in the past year.

In the U.S., feature flip phone sales were up in 2022 for HMD Global, with tens of thousands sold each month. At the same time, HMD’s global feature phone sales were down, according to the company.

In 2022, almost 80% of feature phone sales in 2022 came from the Middle East, Africa and India, according to Counterpoint Research. But some see that number shifting, as a contingency of young people in the U.S. revert back to dumb or minimalist phones. “In North America, the market for dumb phones is pretty much flatlined,” said Moorhead. “But I could see it getting up to 5% increase in the next five years if nothing else, based on the public health concerns that are out there.”

Companies like Punkt and Light are catering to the trend, selling devices geared toward those with a desire to spend less time on their phones and social media. On YouTube, you will find a slew of influencers touting these phones.

It is not clear if this is a real trend, or merely a bit of press release salesmanship by HMD and others. If it is however I think it is a good trend. Smart phones do very little to make people smarter. Instead, they foster a shallow thinking process focused on emotion. The more people who get away from them the better.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. All editions can also be purchased direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • GaryMike

    Fours before I ended 27 years of teaching Astronomy, I went into business doing tax accounting (25 years). Golden parachute.

    Six years before retiring, I went into the business of out-of-warranty computer repair. As part of that I also repaired smart phones and tablets. Much of t required the requisite tools and a certain amount of fearlessness.

    I’ve never personally owned a smart or a flip phone.

    I invested instead.

  • “On YouTube, you will find a slew of influencers touting these {dumb] phones.”

    Touting phones that cannot access the media in which they are featured? Looks a bit like recursive irony.

  • john hare

    I run a concrete business in which the smart phone is very useful. GPS to location with the ability to share with it with employees and suppliers. Email when and where. Business text. Web for several uses including locating alternate suppliers and local weather updates. Text bids and sketches.

    Never go back to flip by choice. I vaguely recall reading about one of the Greek philosophers claiming that literacy was bad because it led to less ability to remember or something of that nature.

  • john hare:

    The Greek Philosopher’s weren’t the first to notice, but it has been said that education is not so much knowing information as knowing where to find it when you need it. Of course, all the education in the world does little good when the immediate knowledge of experience is demanded.

  • sippin_bourbon

    I have waanted to go back to a “dumb phone” for years, but have not for two reasons.
    My children. I never want to cut off an avenue of communication with them.
    My job. It is used as a means to communicate with the younger generation for work.

    But I have dreamed…

  • pzatchok

    I use a flip phone. I have never owned a ‘smart phone’. I still get text messages from my friends.
    But I do not need GPS location or access to the net.

    But I have noticed that those who do use smartphones spend a huge amount of time just watching 10 second videos. I have also noticed children spend a stupid amount of time texting.messaging each other. They will spend an hour messaging back and forth when a 15 second phone call would have worked much better.
    And never try to take a phone away from a kid in school. Their parents will scream like their arms were pulled off. If it was up to me I would put cell phone blockers in every school and movie theater.

    I love technology but I hate smart phones.

  • Andi

    What gets me is two kids sitting on a park bench texting each other.

  • geoffc

    Amusingly,the religious jewish community is a large consumer of these phones. Some of the schools around me do not allow the students to own anything better than a flip phone, so the TMobile/Verizon stores near me all carry them in stock.

    Also nice to see a group stick to their guns. The Internet is bad, require students to comply with not using it. Almost impossible to enforce.

    It is kind of a funny localism example.

  • I have owned a “smart” phone since 2017, but I don’t have a data plan. I wish I could remove certain preinstalled apps that I will never use and which occupy space in the phone’s memory. Some of them cannot be disabled, use power, and randomly open themselves.

  • Jeff Wright

    GaryMike—I also have never bought a cell phone.
    I kept a rotary until a few years ago.

    I remember party lines.

  • GaryMike


    I remember being raised to not listen to party line conversations once we established that the phone was already in use. Pick it up every once in a while to see if the line is no longer in use, otherwise quietly hang up.

    Now we have to listen to people’s conversations with no way to opt out without the use of gun powder..

  • bill

    I don’t own a cell phone. When I went to sign up for ChatGPT they required a phone number. And they wouldn’t accept a landline. Now obviously they didn’t need my phone no. They weren’t planning to call me. Presumably they wanted to sell the number and any info they may have collected to advertisers or others. These tech companies have dossiers on people that would have made Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot green with envy.

  • Max

    I’ve used wireless communication my entire life. Starting when I was a kid talking with my father and friends on the CB. (Citizens ‘s ban, the neighbor was often on the party line making our five digit phone number unavailable)

    My first wireless was an auto patch used by short wave radio. My brother-in-law installed it on my house phone so we didn’t have to pay long-distance charges from one county to the next. It was another five years before the first brick phone came along, I owned a couple of 700 MHz AT&T and a Nokia. (tricked out Nokia’s was all the rage in the late 90s)
    Then 2000 MHz digital phones came along, smaller with no antenna, but I also could no longer listen to conversations on my scanner. (you wouldn’t believe how often government workers would call 1-900 sex workers and girlfriends… I would play the conversations over a walkie-talkie to other operators up in the mountains and laugh about it with my friends)

    I owned a razor and a crazier Flip phone capable of one megabyte pictures before switching over to a Apple 4s 2G phone that I still use for podcasts. (Small and slender, gets Internet without commercials… no longer supported) something inside it is always looking for a connection even on airplane mode. It always gets hot and the new battery goes dead quickly. Something in the programming I can’t turn off, probably trying to make bitcoins and looking for a way to unload it to the people who installed the software on an update.
    Purchased a Apple 6+ because of the large screen, and it became my only computer when I gave what I had to my grandchildren to do homework on during the fake pandemic. I refused to allow it to ever update, and my battery outlasted my daughters, who had the same phone, 3 to 1.
    Not allowing updates had its downside, many websites become unavailable and videos would not play. I figured it was worth it with no spyware, or COVID tracking capabilities.
    I figured out a workaround by purchasing a unlocked iPhone 12 pro with all the latest software. I could not turn off all the apps that came with the phone, like the tracking software, so I just never set up my phone or registered it. I would hotspot it to my 8+ and received Internet capabilities like a pad.
    Eventually, I had dropped my 8+ iPhone and badly cracked the screen… It still works fine but I put my Sim card in my new phone. Unfortunately after 2 years of use, it now knows that I’m not in California and gives me the correct time on the screen. I can’t get email on this phone, and I haven’t downloaded any games or apps… Hopefully my spyware is minimal, using DuckDuckGo to bring up Q want to look at the Internet through 2 IP blockers.
    I probably won’t go back to a flip phone, because of winter nights like this one where the snow is so deep that I can’t move. (The snow drift in front of my equipment came up to my waist) That gives me the time during a 12 hour shift to look up BTB and the news to find out what I’m missing. My smart phone is my only connection to the world.

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