It’s 2014, but flipping hell, clamshell phones appear to be making a comeback. Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, was spotted with a flip phone during this summer’s US Open, as was Rihanna in recent months.
Iggy Pop has gone on record as saying he owns a flip phone. And it’s not just that people are rooting around in chest of drawers and pulling out old models – we all have backup phones after all – but current flip phones are still available to purchase, and new ones are even in production.
It might seem strange that anyone would want to trade in a smartphone for a standard feature phone, but I can understand the appeal of clamshell phones.
Despite the fact that I’ve been a fully paid-up member of the iPhone club since I first bought a 3G, I still hanker after a clamshell. Just like an occasional longing for an ex, I know that a flip phone could never meet my needs after all this time, but I can’t help but remember the good times.
A flip phone made me (erroneously) feel important in the way a non flip cannot. There was nothing more satisfying than the snap of the lid. It could speak of many things – purpose, annoyance, satisfaction. It was the perfect endpoint to a conversation, an onomatopoeic full-stop.
So even though I owned the rather quirky and fun Samsung A300 (the “washing machine” phone) and its successor, the S300, as a schoolgirl, I soon moved on to the Motorola Razr. I felt like a high-powered, sassy lawyer. Namely, Ally McBeal.
When flip phones graduated to colour and external screens on the lids, they became even more popular.
It’s interesting that the latest must-have models, such as the iPhone 6, Blackberry Passport, Google Nexus 6 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 are getting bigger and bigger: it’s all about screen size and functional keyboards.
Back in the early 2000s, status was secured by having a device so small as to be almost invisible to the naked eye.
Clearly however, others feel the same way as I do, as aside from the celeb take up of actual flip phones, covers to disguise iPhones as flip phones are buyable.
I probably wouldn’t use a clamshell now, because I’m too attached to smartphones, with their abundance of apps and super-fast internet connection.
But there’s no doubt that flip phones are cheaper, often more durable, have a much better battery life and can fit in a jeans pocket (plus they don’t bend; Apple we’re looking at you).
The lid also means there’s never an opportunity to pocket call, otherwise known as the butt dial.
Celebrities have apparently taken to using them as a result of recent hacking scandals such as “The Fappening”. Although it’s debatable whether feature phones are actually all that more secure, given that most also have internet access and GPS functions.
Either way, flip phones are having a resurgence. File alongside cassette tapes, typewriters and film cameras.
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