While millions of people around the world eagerly awaited the release of Apples’s new iPhone 7, dozens of attendants at the Fireside Gathering – a no-phone, no-reception event held at a summer camp two hours west of Ottawa – had to make due with a “revolutionary NoPhone Air, a simple phone package with nothing but air inside.
“We are very proud to introduce the least-advanced NoPhone ever,” inventors Chris Sheldon and Van Gould told Fireside Gathering attendees on September 10th. “We took away the headphone jack. And then we took away everything else. It may look like nothing is in this packaging. But that’s what’s so beautiful about it.”
Sheldon and Gould are part of a growing smartphone-resistant counterculture, and claim they came up with the idea for the NoPhone after seeing everyone at a rooftop bar in New York with their eyes glued to their smartphones. “The NoPhone was created to combat the rapid decline of real life social engagement that has stemmed from chronic smartphone use. It’s sleek, plastic design serves as an idle hand’s security blanket and is devised to alleviate the constant need humans have to hold a mobile device without preventing users from fully experiencing their immediate surroundings,” they wrote on the NoPhone official site.
Believe it or not, the tongue-in-cheek product even has a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, and has managed to raise $380 of its $500 goal. With just 4 days to go until the campaign ends, it looks like it’s going to go down to the wire. “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” the Kickstarter pitch states. When you open the NoPhone Air packaging, it looks like there is nothing inside. With absolutely no features, the NoPhone Air feels nothing in your hand. It’s a completely distraction-free device in frustration-free packaging. The NoPhone Air is the perfect gift for people who need no phone. Now everyone can put down their real phones, pick up the NoPhone Air and enjoy real life.”
The Fireside Gathering where the NoPhone was unveiled earlier this month was first organized in 2015, by Toronto lawyers Steven Pulver and Daniel Levine. They had attended dozens of tech conferences over the last few years and felt that smartphones had become too much of distraction. So they created this event where no smartphones are allowed and there is no cell phone reception. The Wall Street Journal reports that “the absence of cellphones led to social interactions many people weren’t used to. Without Google Maps, people had to ask for directions around the sprawling camp. Attendance at this year’s conference more than doubled to about 270 people.”
If the NoPhone brands sounds familiar, it’s probably because the Air is not the first NoPhone product ever featured on Oddity Central. A couple of years ago, we featured the original NoPhone – a simple piece of plastic shaped like a smartphone and meant to act as a placebo.