Featureless Tech Manifesto

Over the last couple of decades consumer electronics have made a marvelous leap forward. Laptops are replacing desktop computers, phones and tablets are replacing laptops, watches will soon be replacing phones. Everything is becoming “smart”, packed with more and more features. The options we are presented with have increased at least tenfold.

Need a new phone? iPhone is the most popular one, you should probably go for it. You want it large, or extra large? With too little memory, or with enough, but twice more expensive? Oh, there is no 3.5mm audio jack, Apple wants you to buy their wireless “AirPods” for $259.

Can’t afford what Apple has to offer? You are in luck, there are 50,000 different combinations of Android phones available! Most of them will be obsolete by Christmas, because they are not built to last. Be careful with your choice, some of them may explode.

Marketing and Sales teams of each major manufacturer will make sure you will have to buy a new smartphone each year. It will be fragile enough to break when you drop it, unless you keep it inside a horrible bumper case. And even if you do, the next OS update will slow your phone down to a point where you’ll need a new one with double processing power and one more gigabyte of RAM to keep things running as fast as they were months ago.

Want more storage memory? Android phone manufacturers have learned their lesson from Apple - you will rarely find SD card slot in new models. The only option is to buy a device with heavily overpriced extra memory, so your day won’t get ruined when you’ll run out of storage while taking pictures of your son’s first soccer game.

Looking for a new Smart TV? What display do you want? OLED? QLED? Quantum dot? Flat? Curved? FHD? 4K UHD? 5K? 3D? Torn between brands? Samsung looks nice, now which one you want? One with “Smart Hub” that will have thousands of shitty apps that nobody will ever install? Also with personalized smart services ready to shove popups in your face when you’re trying to watch a movie? Unfortunately, this feature will be included in all of them.

After you bring all your new toys home, they will connect to the magical Internet of Things, exposing your home network and all the connected devices to hackers, spammers and identity thieves worldwide, through the numerous security holes that overworked software developers have left plenty of, as they were rushing to prepare new firmware for the latest hot product, including 20 new features! Your home network is as strong as it’s weakest link, and one day you may find yourself being a digital hostage to brand new ransomware thanks to your new smart refrigerator.

All these always connected devices are screaming for your attention, teams of people are spending hundreds of thousands of man hours to increase their product retention by making you look at your phone more often, by pinging you with new notifications, with delays just long enough to keep you below the threshold of complete frustration. What is the first thing you do when you wake up? What is the last thing you see before you go to sleep? Is it a screen?

We are sick and tired of the direction where technology is going. We want our life to be simple. We believe that less is more. We don’t need more features, we don’t need more notifications, we don’t want to be more connected than we already are. We don’t want real time updates on tiny life events of people around us. We want dumb phones that send and receive calls and text messages. We want dumb TVs that show what you feed into them through a cable. We want to buy things once and use them for many years to come. We want to have secure networks at home. We want our devices to be simple to use, reliable and timeless.

We don’t need more features in exchange for reduced battery life. We need our phone to last weeks on single charge, like the good old Nokia 3310 did. We don’t need a “Football mode” button on our TV remote control, that we will keep pressing by accident three times a week. We want our TV to turn on immediately after we press the power button, not 20 seconds later.

We want to disconnect from distractions. We want simplicity and minimalism. We want reliable, featureless technology, that does less, but does it well.

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