Certain technology and devices are so much a part of our daily lives that we almost forget that we survived without it. As we discussed in our article about the multi-generational workforce almost everyone in any industry has lived through big changes in how we do things. We all fondly tell the younger generation “back in my day”, but an emerging trend in tech means that they’ll most likely get to experience that for themselves.
One of the biggest innovations in tech is devices that do multiple things. Just over two decades ago we our phones, music players, note-taking tools, and word processing machines where separate objects. Today, one device can do it all and it can fit in our pockets. However, in an effort to build more authentic experiences with the brands we love as well as the people we care about society is thinking about disconnecting in order to make more meaningful connections. How is this manifesting? Let’s take a look at just three devices that indicate this shift in our collective mindset.
No, not the new high-tech folding screen handsets. Actual, old-school, no-internet, 4-megapixel camera, flip phones. Young people love them. Having grown up entrenched in technology Gen Z are looking to go “analogue”. Finding new ways to experience the world means embracing the old ways of experiencing the world. Just look at the Gen Z barometer, TikTok. Besides fashion from the early 2000s now being seen everywhere videos on the platform tagged #bringbackflipphones have reached 27 million views, and those tagged #flipphone are up to 600 million views. For Millennials it’s not just nostalgia that is drawing them, as well, to this trend. It’s a way to live in the now to stay connected without being distracted.
Language has a way of evolving with usage. When laptops became more accessible lots of them where named “notebooks” as they replaced the good ol’ pen and paper for students and professionals alike, despite doing much more than taking notes and not having any of the characteristics of a book, at all. Enter e-Ink Tablet, a device that truly deserves the name, “notebook”. For those who love that pen and paper feel, but still need to stay connected to today’s fast paced work flow e-Ink Tablets are a breath of fresh air. These devices are just for reading and writing, so again, that “retro” element of one thing doing one thing. But with some having features like the ability to store books (like an e-Book reader) and converting your own handwriting to typed text, it keeps us planted firmly in the present. The surface and resistance give a feel so similar to paper that some artists even use it to sketch, meaning that brainstorms and prototypes are immediately and easily digitised. Talk about the best of both worlds.
It might seem counter-intuitive to remove functionalities from your devices, but in a society where it is so easy to become distracted we need all the help we can get to keep us focused. A brand new trend, still in its infancy, is laptops that only run ONE app – a word processor. A machine that is dedicated to helping you get the words in your mind out without any other bells or whistles. Less frills, means less spills – at least for those of us who are dedicated to pursuing a more low-tech experience, even if it’s just temporarily. A certain device called the FreeWrite Traveller is one such device. Its designers call it the dedicated drafting machine. No browsers, music players, streaming services, games, social media, or email. All you can do with the Traveler is type. A fresh approach that will undoubtedly bring much more zen into the lives of all who use it.
These three products are just the tip of the iceberg. As marketers we can’t ignore the importance of this movement. The brands who embraced these trends are so in sync with their customers that they developed these products almost at the same time as customers were crying out for a change. Great marketers make our audience feel as if it was their idea that sparked this revolution, and all we did was give them the tools to create the reality they require in the way that they needed.