Is your smartphone... too functional? LG may have a solution.
The electronics company on Sunday announced the LG Gentle, a new flip phone available in South Korea that runs a recent version of the Android smartphone operating system. It's sort of like the Motorola Razr got together with a Samsung Galaxy and popped out a baby.
According to Engadget -- which notes that flip phones are actually becoming more popular in some parts of Asia -- the LG Gentle costs about $179, and has a 3.2-inch screen and a 3-megapixel camera. (As a point of comparison, the basic iPhone 6 is $649 off-contract, and boasts a 4.7-inch screen and a substantially more powerful 8-megapixel camera.) As you can see in the photo above, the LG Gentle also has a T9 keypad, which is basically extinct outside of gimmicky smartphone apps that invite you to relive the pain of agonizingly cycling through clusters of letters to type out basic text messages.
So, no, the Gentle isn't on the cutting edge. But believe it or not, there's a solid case to be made for flip phones: Many high-powered businesspeople actually favor them over more sophisticated tech. The argument is pretty straightforward: Flip phones don't do as much as smartphones, so they're less distracting. If you have a flip phone next to your bed, you're not liable to spend the minutes before sleep tap-tap-tapping away on Facebook or email, and you won't scroll mindlessly through your notifications when you wake up in the morning.
That said, the LG Gentle is running smartphone software, so it's probably not the safest bet if you want a distraction-free life. It's also not likely to be released in Western territories. However, U.S. carriers like Verizon -- which owns AOL, the parent company of The Huffington Post -- continue to offer a slew of "basic phones" for your low-tech needs. They're definitely worth a shot if you're hooked on your smartphone -- especially if you're the type who needs a special place mat to keep your habit under control.