Light Phone: A Phone That Respects A User’s Time

A photo of the minimalist Light Phone with the time on it of 2:22.

We’ve read study after study about (and learned from experience) the difficulty people have finding balance between being connected to smartphones and being connected to the world and people around them. Light thinks they have found a helpful solution.The Light Phones are what some call a “minimalist phone” giving users just enough tech but not too much. We spoke with Light co-founders, Joe Hollier and Kai Tang, who told us more about this delightful piece of technology.

Tell us about Light Phone and Light Phone II.

The Light Phones are intentionally designed to be used as little as possible. We see them as tools, objects that help us get things done when we need them and respect our space when we don’t. The Light Phone was created as a complementary phone that encouraged a user to ‘go light’, leave behind their smartphone and enjoy quality time doing what they love the most free of distractions. In launching the original Light Phone, we’ve met many users who are looking for a more permanent solution and do not even want a smartphone, that is what inspired the Light Phone II. It’s a more robust phone, 4G network, larger battery and an e-ink screen that allows for texting and utility that we’ll be exploring with our users.

What inspired you to create your Light Phones?

Our time and attention are the two most important things that we take for granted every time we reach for our phones. We’ve become so used to our hyper connectivity that it’s easy to forget that we were not always so connected and that we have a choice to choose how we’d like to connect. The tech monopolies are fighting more and more aggressively for our attention, monetizing our data and our time with them. We felt like there were not any alternatives for users, and we wanted to create something that allowed someone to unplug from time to time.

An image of different social media logos grouped on one side and then the words, “light” on the other with an arrow showing range below them all.

How do you see this project contributing value to the mindful technology community?

We think our greatest contribution has been in the awareness around our relationship with our smartphones. By introducing a product like the Light Phone, a phone away from phone, it forces a user to think of why they might benefit from having less from time to time. We hope that even if a user does not buy a Light Phone, that maybe our concept might inspire them to reflect on their personal relationship to their phone.

Tell us about your Smartphone™ videos and why you created them?

The smartphone infomercials came as a way for us to get our message out about awareness, without immediately hitting the user with a sales pitch for our product. We wanted to give the users some ideas to think about as it relates to some of the side effects of smartphones whether or not they got a Light Phone. No one sold smartphones by saying, “Do you want to check your email everyday before you even get out of bed?” They sold us the smartphone by showing some of the positives like video chatting with relatives or coming together at holidays. We wanted to show more of the full picture of how we personally felt we were using the smartphone day in and day out. We hoped that the videos would be relatable because as humans we too are just as vulnerable and these smartphones are certainly engineered to use that against us as well.

The videos still help to give our phone context and purpose, which is a way to promote the project, but as the anti-advertising phone ourselves we are very careful about how we market ourselves.


What advice would you give others who are trying to build technology for a better world?

Stay true to yourself and your morals that inspired you in the first place. That is your uniqueness and you cannot lose it if you are to achieve your initial goal of helping the world. It’s a really hard space to work in, there is an enormous amount of competition, and in that struggle it can be easy to slightly drift away from your foundation principles as you merely try to keep the ship afloat. I can now understand how good people with good intentions have created some technologies that are now doing harm to our culture because of this pressure, especially when most of your competition in Silicon Valley is willing to participate in such practices.

I would also suggest a partner/co-founder as it will be quite the rollercoaster of ups and downs and to have someone there to share those has been so crucial to getting through the hard times.

When does the Light Phone II come out and where can people purchase it?

The Light Phone II will begin shipping in early summer and can be purchased through our website.

The Light co-founders Joe Hollier and Kai Tang.

The Light co-founders Joe Hollier and Kai Tang.


What can we expect next from you and how can people follow along?

The Light Phones are our first products, but we are trying to build a true alternative in the technology space. We’re interested in how we can create other products using the same design lens that we have for our phones. We’re excited about where that will lead and look forward to continuing our mission to create a brand that builds beautiful objects that respect and empower our users.

Find out more about Light and their Light Phones by visiting their website and watching the video below.


All images from Light.

At Mindful Technology™ we believe in building tech for a better world—and we teach precisely how to do that through our workshops, keynotes, and executive seminars. Join our growing community on Twitter or Instagram; or subscribe to our informative + non-salesy newsletter📱🙏🏽💻 (Prefer IRL? We do too! Join our meetup group.)