24 Aug

The Future Smartphone May Not Be What You Think

We see information popping up more and more that stresses the importance of limiting the time that we spend on our smartphones. From causing sleep problems and disrupting interpersonal relationships, to attention issues in children and adults, the tech world may be starting to take on these concerns in a real but nerdy, techy sort of way.

Later in 2015, San Francisco-based Monohom will release a circular, pocket watch-inspired smartphone. Called “the Runcible,” it actually offers fewer features than your smartphone. The phone is a nod to steampunk style, fitting into the palm of your hand with the choice of a wood, copper, tin or plastic covering and the option to attach a chain for a real pocket watch look. This is not your ordinary smartphone, however, and may not be intended to replace it. The Runcible is intended for use when going on outings where you don’t want to be bombarded with all that your smartphone has to offer.

The Runcible allows you to receive calls from only twelve of your chosen contacts, while everyone else goes straight to voicemail. Get it? Twelve hours on the pocket watch? Social media alerts are gone (except for those from your chosen twelve), but you will be able to access a screen with expanding bubbles, one for each social media channel, based on the level of activity you’re receiving.

Playing on the theme of getting back into real life, the Runcible will not offer standard GPS directions either, but will guide you to your destination via the most scenic or interesting route possible and hide the step by step instructions from you. You can also choose to use it as a sort of compass, and the device will point you in the general direction of your intended location, without instructions. This allows you to have a real life adventure without getting lost in the specifics of technology; a way to “look up” as you go about your day. Also, instead of buying a new Runcible every time there is an upgrade, users will be able to switch out the innards, allowing it to feel more like an heirloom pocket watch.

Is this the future of the techy? Picture instead of the quintessential millennial, hipster, techy hunched over their smartphone and laptop, keeping up with every latest trend, email and social media alert in real time, the techy of the future could be the person savvy in the latest technology and trends but making a conscious choice to unplug and live their life regardless.

The Runcible doesn’t come cheap. The company is estimating a $600 price tag. Is this pointing to a new technology trend? Are we willing to pay more to for less technology but the ability to regain control of what captures our attention in our daily lives? Perhaps the Runcible is the device for the post-smartphone era, as the company claims.