The Light Phone was created with the premise that phones are tools, not toys. Founders Kaiwei Tang and Joe Hollier found themselves increasingly frustrated and appalled at how much time their phones were sucking out of their lives. The pair met at a Google experimental program in 2014, where they learned how to make mobile applications.
The problem was, they were also learning how to make apps that were “sticky” — that encouraged users to keep using them, over and over, for long periods of time. After all, that was the way an app was considered successful. The longer someone used an app, the more revenue an app could make through advertising.
“The more we dove into it, the more we realized that developers were bragging about how much time the average user was spending in their app,” says Tang. “We told ourselves that was the last thing society needed from us. If you have an advertisement business model, you’ll never get away from that.”