2023’s Hottest Tech Might Just Be the Flip Phone

Everything old really is new again

Flip phone
The Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access (FOMA) phone, 2001.
Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

If you’re looking to get an especially cutting-edge phone this year, what’s the device you should be looking for? For some buyers, foldable tech is all the rage — and this year’s CES featured plenty of intriguing smartphone options that blend high performance with intriguing design. But there’s also a very different route to go when it comes to phones — and one that Gen Z is reportedly embracing: the flip phone.

As you may recall, cellphones and smartphones weren’t always synonymous. There was a time when most mobile phones had separate screens and keypads, and were less tiny computers in your pocket and more phones that functioned as phones and very little else. And this technology might just be poised for a comeback.

This new CNN report details a number of Gen Z celebrities and TikTok personalities embracing the scaled-down ethos of the flip phone. Why? Well, according to the people interviewed, they’re concerned about their screen time and want to spend less time online. And while there’s something a little surreal about someone making a TikTok video about the joys of reducing your smartphone usage, it’s hardly the only contradictory thing in the world when it comes to technology and media.

What’s arguably most interesting about CNN’s article is that it describes a situation in which smartphones and flip phones coexist, rather than one being a replacement for the other. Then again, there’s also something understandable about that — being able to have access to a phone in the event of an emergency is good, and going that route without the potential for distraction that an entire galaxy of apps offers also makes sense.

Sometimes, there’s a reason why older technology sticks around. The flip phone renaissance is still more evidence of precisely that.

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