That which you sow shall reap.
Clamshell “flip phones” were popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s because of their small size (compared to the bulky “brick phones” of the previous decade) and the sense of finality they provided when a call was over.
However, flip phones weren’t great for texting because the keys were so small and it could take up to three presses to get to the desired letter. If you were fortunate enough to have a camera flip phone, your pictures would be fuzzy or pixelated.
Smartphones with advanced features, such as the iPhone in 2007 and Android devices beginning in 2008, have rapidly replaced simpler cell phones like flip phones (including “candy bar”-shaped devices).
In the future, the generation born after the baby boomers, known as Gen Z, seem to be fascinated with this outdated technology despite its obvious flaws.
Why Are We Getting Back To Flip Phones?
The hashtag #bringbackflipphones, along with other related and hot hashtags like #y2kaesthetic, has more than 25 million views on the social media platform as a result of several prominent TikTok personalities discussing flip phones.
Sammy Palazzolo (@skzzolno), an 18-year-old college student, may be seen as the trend’s progenitor. He claims that flip phones aren’t only about retro kitsch and that switching to a simpler phone when going out with friends leads to a better and less stressful evening.
According to Google, searches for “flip phones” have surged by more than 140 percent over the previous five years, so while sales figures aren’t yet available, the market seems to be responding positively.
Young stars like Cuban-born Camila Cabello, 25, tweeted to her 13 million followers: “I support the movement toward cheaper, more convenient phones with flip screens. You know what, guys? Maybe I can compose the theme tune.”
Technology expert and head of a market research organization in San Jose, California, Tim Bajarin, told USA TODAY that the trend began with Samsung’s flip phone and has been a great popularity in South Korea.
Then it started popping up in TikTok videos, where it attracted the attention of Generation Z—a group that wasn’t around in the ’90s to remember the flip phones—and they started looking for those models.
According to Bajarin, flip phones are “like a fad for this generation at the moment.” However, “if it indicates a real need for them,” the interest in flip phones on social media could eventually influence new smartphone designs.
Film cameras (including instant print cameras), turntables, tape players, and arcade machines are just some of the numerous vintage technologies that members of Generation Z have posted about on TikTok.
What Does A Cheap Flip Phone Cost?
It’s possible to pick up a flip phone from a few different retailers.
Be wary of purchasing a used flip phone (even from a reputable seller like eBay) because of the possibility that it will no longer function due to the widespread elimination of 3G connectivity by major carriers during the past year.
Like Sammy K, you can buy a new flip phone for $20 to $50, with some models offering “modern” features like Bluetooth and a better camera with flash.
You may either spend as much on a smartphone or go with a new take on the traditional flip phone.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4, which has an OLED screen and retails for $889, is notable for its foldable design.
This 5G-capable flip phone folds up small enough to fit in a pocket or clutch, and it features a 1.9-inch Cover Screen for viewing notifications and messages on the outside, as well as Samsung Pay for making in-store purchases by waving the smartphone over a contactless terminal.
When you need more room, however—to watch a TikTok movie, play a game, read an e-book, or surf the web, for example—the Z Flip4 opens to reveal a 6.7-inch Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display, running at a silky 120Hz refresh rate.
It may also be folded in half and propped up in an “L” form on a table or desk for hands-free video chatting.
The Android-powered phone comes in a range of colors and can be charged quickly via wireless charging. It also has dual 12-megapixel cameras (plus a 10-megapixel selfie camera).