Motorola’s New Razr Has a Special Mode to Help You Unplug
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Motorola’s New Razr Has a Special Mode to Help You Unplug

An increasing number of young adults are opting for flip phones as a strategy to limit their screen time. In response to this trend, Motorola has taken a unique approach with its upcoming Razr release. This foldable phone, hitting the US market on October 19th at its standard price of $700, features a special mode explicitly crafted to minimize distractions.

Motorola Razr

The “Unplugged” feature offers a temporary break from the constant barrage of apps, leaving only the essentials at your fingertips. Think of it as a more advanced iteration of Apple’s Focus mode, as it goes a step beyond by concealing apps that haven’t received your approval. Unplugged is debuting on the new Razr and is set to make its way to the Razr Plus in the coming weeks. Motorola is committed to incorporating this feature into its future devices, underscoring the growing trend of tech companies responding to the desires of younger Gen Z audiences who seek respite from the digital world.

“People have experimented with various methods to assist in managing their phone usage,” observed Lexi Valasek, a senior product researcher at Motorola. “However, there isn’t a universally effective solution for this issue, given that individuals have distinct preferences for how they disconnect.”

By installing Unplugged, users can transform their phone into a unique mode, complete with a customized background and layout, granting access to only selected apps. While hiking, one might choose to keep only the camera app and a handful of communication apps on hand while blocking out social media. The significance of this customized layout is its capacity to break the cycle of mindlessly reaching for a distracting app due to ingrained muscle memory, as pointed out by Valasek.

“It can aid in countering that automatic reflex of reaching for those distractions that tend to pull you away from the present moment,” she noted.

This mirrors Apple’s Focus Mode, which allows users to create a customized version of their home screen with selected apps, making it more challenging to access time-consuming applications. However, on the iPhone, the App Library remains just a swipe away, whereas Motorola’s Unplugged mode conceals apps from the operating system entirely until the feature is deactivated. Nonetheless, you can still permit phone calls and alerts from high-priority contacts, such as family members or your child’s school.

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Motorola’s introduction of Unplugged mode comes at a time when there is increasing concern about the amount of time people spend on their smartphones. According to a study by published in July 2023, Americans check their phones an average of 144 times per day, based on a survey of 1,000 Americans aged 18 or older. The same study also revealed that over half of Americans have admitted to feeling addicted to their phones.

Both Apple and Google, which oversee the two most widely used mobile operating systems globally, have incorporated additional features into iOS and Android in recent years to address these concerns. Prior to the introduction of Focus Mode in iOS 15 in 2021, Apple introduced a feature called Screen Time, allowing users to monitor their app usage. Google’s Android operating system also includes a suite of tools for managing screen time, known as Digital Wellbeing.

Despite these efforts by tech companies, there’s been a notable trend among Gen Z users in recent years to exchange their smartphones for flip phones as part of a broader initiative to disconnect from the digital world. This shift is exemplified by the TikTok hashtag #bringbackfliphones, which has amassed an impressive 58.2 million views as of the current moment. Market research firm Counterpoint Research has reported a resurgence in the sales of feature phones, which are essentially more basic mobile phones that fall between traditional cell phones and modern smartphones. This renewed interest can be attributed to the Gen Z and millennial demographics.

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Motorola’s new $700 Razr, distinct from the $1,000 Razr Plus introduced in June, is specifically tailored for this target audience. (In certain international markets, the Razr is marketed as the Razr 40 and is priced at £800 in the UK and AU$999 in Australia.) Notably, the more affordable Razr boasts a significantly smaller 1.5-inch external screen compared to the Plus’ 3.6-inch cover display. Motorola views this as a more suitable choice for individuals seeking to actively manage their screen time.

“You’re taking a break from your phone when you close the device,” she explained.

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