Motorola RAZR flip phone is BACK in a new form – as teens turn to ‘brick’ phones to escape social media
The new Binatone Blade phone
Retro phones are experiencing something of a comeback this year.
BlackBerry has returned from the dead and Nokia has re-released the classic 3310 .
Now another hit device from yesteryear has been reborn, albeit under a new name.
The Binatone Blade is instantly recognisable as the classic Motorola RAZR flip phone – the British company having been licenced by Moto to resurrect the design in 2017.
Fans of the original will find a lot to like here. For starters; there’s no social media apps to suck up your time and your battery life.
Instead, you’re treated to classic applications like “Alarm”, “Stopwatch”, “Calculator” and “Unit conversion”.
Thankfully there are a few games on board – including Snake and Tetris.
The Binatone Blade will browse the internet, doubles up as an MP3 player and supports dual-SIMs, a micro SIM and a mini SIM.
But it’s clear how the company is positioning the gadget – which will launch in the next few months and cost less than £50. It’s a stylish alternative to the Nokia 3310 that came out in March. It’s also positioned firmly as a secondary phone for taking to festivals or on holiday with you.
And there’s evidence to suggest that many teenagers might be willing to swap a smartphone for a “dumb” one.
A recent poll of 5,000 pupils at independent and state schools in England revealed that 63% wouldn’t care if social media didn’t exist.
Even more, 71%, said they take temporary “digital detoxes” to escape the onslaught of updates, notifications and reminders.
The research, conducted for Digital Awareness UK on behalf of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) found that over half of respondents (57%) had received abusive messages online.
“We see them walking around with this tech almost attached to them – but they are now saying they are open to things like digital detoxing to allow them to take a break from technology,” Charlotte Robertson, co-founder of Digital Awareness UK, told MailOnline .
“They are starting to acknowledge that it is impacting their health and wellbeing in ways that they hadn’t recognised before.
“This time last year it wasn’t the case at all, but now they are saying they are using their brick phones at the weekend.
“It’s suddenly just a cool thing to do. It’s about going out and having the security that you can contact someone if you need them, and being able to feel safe and connected but without the pressure to be responsive all the time.”
Thankfully, the likes of the new Nokia 3310 and Binatone Blade will give us a chance to take a breather from all the online noise created by modern smartphones.
And, if you fancy a longer trip down memory lane, here are 10 old-timey phones that got us all buzzing in years gone by.
1/ IBM Simon (1994)
Believe it or not, this was the first smartphone and 50,000 of the chunky model were sold.
It could send emails, had software apps and could link to a fax. But it cost £700, only worked in the US and had an hour’s battery life.
2/ Samsung Galaxy S2 (2011)
Slim and powerful, this phone was more like an iPhone than anything before it.
With a simple design and known for being super-fast, it sold well and remains popular on the second-hand market.
3/ Ericsson R380 (2000)
Released in 2000, this was the first device marketed as a smartphone.
It was just as small and light as a regular mobile phone and featured a flip that, when open, featured a nearly full touchscreen.
4/ Mobira Senator (1982)
This huge thing, weighing 22lb, was intended for use as a car phone.
The Senator was Nokia’s first phone, before the company became known by its household name.
5/ iPhone 2G (2007)
The first smartphone designed by Apple, unveiled by the late Steve Jobs.
They incorporated the iPod design and added a camera, email, phone abilities and web browser. But the vital new feature was apps.
6/ Motorola DynaTAC 8000X (1973-83)
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In 1973, engineer Marty Cooper called a pal at a rival firm to say he was using a mobile.
Ten years later, Motorola’s first commercial cellular phone went on sale for £2,300, weighing 1.75lb.
Michael Douglas used one in Wall Street and one sold on eBay for £1,000 recently.
7/ Nokia 1100 (2003)
Not as well known as the 3310 but it is the best-selling mobile of all time, shifting 250 million units.
When the one-billionth Nokia was sold in Nigeria in 2005, it was, unsurprisingly, a 1100 – the best-selling electrical gadget in history.
8/ Blackberry 6230 (2003)
This propelled Blackberry from the business market to the consumer market.
It allowed you to check and respond to emails on the go, weighed a light 136g and its battery could handle up to five hours’ talk time on a charge.
9/ Motorola StarTAC (1996)
The first flip-style mobile. Unlike other phones, it was sleek, stylish and the firm said it was the lightest in the world.
It was the first to offer a vibrate mode and launched at £1,400 in the UK.
10/ Philips C12 (1999)
This had a screw-on aerial and stored up to 10 messages at a time. It also had the “puppy power” tone.
A myth said if you turned it off as soon as you sent a message, you didn’t pay – which may well explain its popularity.