Maybe people should be less worried about draining the life out of their smartphone batteries and more concerned about their smartphones draining the life out of them? That’s a notion that Aubrey Anderson, founder and CEO of Monohm, would probably agree with.
How do I know? He thinks that smartphones could stand to be a bit dumber; a bit less connected. Does he hate smartphones? No. But when I asked him what was wrong with today’s de facto smartphone experience, he said, “Connectivity in my smartphone has made it so that I’m effectively always at work if I have my phone with me. Even in silent mode I feel that buzz. It takes my attention away from where I am in the physical world, and like an addict, I find myself making an excuse to go to the bathroom to check it.”
But, unlike most smartphone addicts, Aubrey set out to change the equation by inventing what he considers a post-smartphone device called Runcible.
You can tell just by looking at it that Runcible was designed to be different. But the differences are more than skin-deep. As Aubrey puts it, Runcible is the alternative to the increasingly invasive and commodified smartphone, whose app-centric approach distracts us from our lives instead of helping us live them.
Fair enough. But, I asked, will people really be able to pry themselves away from their smartphones to use a device like Runcible? Aubrey’s response was nothing short of a compelling sales pitch:
“One of the best measures of the gravity of addiction is to look at how much time passes between when a person wakes up and when they smoke their first cigarette or take their first drink, etc.
Think about how much time passes between when you wake up and when you check your phone. How much value are you getting out of it? What might you be doing instead with your early mornings?
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a friend recount that familiar story of when they were traveling or on vacation to a remote place that had no cell coverage and it was SO FANTASTIC!
We think life is better with connectivity, but life is also for living! The ultimate achievement of a technology should be to become invisibly integrated into human behavior. We haven’t seen much progress toward that with smartphones yet.”