Out with the New… In with the Old.. Flip Phones?

Could the legendary flip phones really make a come back?


Drawing by Angelica Macario

Sarah Chen, Photojournalist

In our world, technology is constantly trying to one-up itself. But is it possible, that in one of the most advanced countries in the world, Flip phones are making its comeback.

Despite the times, flip phones are still very much popular in Japan, as well as other Asian countries. Japan, ranked 4th by Businessweek as one of the most technologically advanced countries, saw the return of flip phones. For the first time in seven years, there is a 5.7% rise in the shipments of flip phones and a 5.3% decline in smart phones. There are 10.58 million units of flip phones on the Japanese market with 27.7 million smartphones on the market. South Korea is also looking at modest increase, according to Tom Kang, a Seoul based director of Counterpoint Research.

For many, the simple functions of flip phones, coupled with the durability and long battery life, makes flip phones the obvious choice. In Japanese, the average cell phone bill per person is around $54 a month, making it the second highest in the world (Canada’s $55 takes first place).

“There are definitely obvious benefits to the flip phone, but I don’t think I can give up my smart phone,” said Thomas Kim (12).

Many of the Japanese, have switched back to flip phones, or began using 2 phones: a flip phone for calls, and a smartphone to surf the web. By simultaneously using two phones, the phone bill is cheaper. The older generations still enjoy the simple features that make the flip phone easier to use. Parents are also giving their children these flip phones in hopes of eliminating distractions.

The Japanese market, as well as Asian market, have continued to update and improve the basic phone. In fact, Samsung has even created a touchscreen flip phone, the Samsung Galaxy Golden, which is only available in Asia.

By 2010, flip phones have become basically obsolete, after 2007’s first introduction to the Iphone, as well as other smartphones. At YLHS, smartphones rule the campus, from the newest Iphone 6 to the Samsung Galaxy series.

But, if you look around, the lack of durability of the phones are evident in the cracks on the screen. Like many new technology, there is a short lifetime before it is replaced by the next newest model. YLHS has seen the Iphone 3, 4, 4s, 5, 5s, 6, 6-plus, all since it opened its door in 2009.

Chargers are also commonly seen in the back of classrooms, after all, if you are looking at Instagram, sending Snapchats, and playing on apps like Candy Crush, you are burning through the battery. No longer are there harsh slams on the phone or snapping a flip phone shut in anger, the new precious jewels that is out smartphones are too fragile to be a way to vent anger.

The flip phone’s disappearance from out daily lives are just another result of the “creative destruction” of the evolution in technology. The Japaneses’ ability to bring back the antique, while pushing away the new smartphones, might just be limited to Asia only. After all, the Koreans have only seen a small increase, as it is one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers.

Could the old flip phones really make a comeback in the US or is it just limited to Japan?