- Internet service provider Frontier Communications will pay $1,000 to a candidate of its choosing that’s willing to trade in their smartphone for a flip phone for a full week.
- But the person selected will have to document their entire experience.
- The contest comes as concerns over the amount of time we’re spending on our phones have increased, resulting in new features from Apple and Google designed to manage screen time.
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Could you live without your iPhone for a week? If you’re willing to find out, you could end up winning $1,000.
Internet service provider Frontier Communications has launched a contest in which it will choose one candidate to use an old-fashioned flip phone in place of their smartphone for seven full days. If this person can do so successfully, he or she will be rewarded with $1,000.
The company will also provide the participant with a so-called "survival kit"that includes a physical map to be used in place of apps like Google Maps, a physical phone book for jotting down phone numbers, a pen and notebook, and retro CDs with 90s-era music.
The catch? Other than giving up your smartphone, Frontier is asking that you document the whole experience. The details make it sound more like a job than a contest, as it lists the candidate’s "responsibilities" and refers to the prize money as "compensation."
"Our ideal candidate will be a self-proclaimed smartphone fiend who’s always up to date on the latest tech news. They’ll be organized, detail-oriented, and willing to persevere," the page reads.
As part of the contest, you’ll have to keep track of the amount of time it takes to complete tasks such as texting and checking email. The company is also interested in learning about each instance in which you wished you could have Googled something, how many hours you slept during the contest period, how your productivity changed, and if you were late to any appointments.
What the contest page doesn’t say is how Frontier will verify that you haven’t used a smartphone at all during the seven-day period. It also doesn’t state any rules about staying away from other gadgets like tablets or laptops, potentially rendering the whole experiment useless.
It’s clearly a marketing ploy for Frontier — after all, the listing says it prefers applicants with an "active social presence," which would ultimately result in more brand awareness for the company. But the contest comes as concerns over tech addiction have heightened, prompting tech firms to help us manage the amount of time we spend on our smartphones. Apple launched its Screen Time feature last year, for example, which allows iPhone owners to see how much time they’re spending on their phone and where they’re spending it. Google’s Pixel phones have a similar feature called Digital Wellbeing.
Frontier isn’t the only company looking to put our reliance on smartphones to the test. Brooklyn-based startup Light launched a"dumb" phone in 2015 that can only handle basic tasks like making calls and telling the time. The company recently unveiled a newer model that can also send texts, but still doesn’t run apps.
The company says it sold more than 10,000 units in more than 50 countries. That certainly pales in comparison to the number of smartphones major tech firms usually sell, but it’s evidence that at least some people see the appeal of using a distraction-free phone.
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