Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Digital Camera World
Digital Camera World
Ben Andrews

Heineken - yes, the beer company - launches a camera phone that's boring by design

The Boring Phone.

A phone made in conjunction with a brewing company? It sounds like a late April Fool's joke, but surprisingly, the collaboration between HMD (Human Mobile Devices - makers of current Nokia phones) and Heineken isn't as ridiculous as it first seems. 

The Boring Phone is a stripped-down dumb phone that ditches internet access, so there's no social media, email, or games. Free from such distractions, the theory is you're then able to more easily engage with the people around you and enjoy real-life socializing... over a beer.

Maybe the beer tie-in is a little contrived, but the underlying philosophy here is interesting. Heineken commissioned a survey of 4000 Gen Z and Millennial smartphone users of legal drinking age to gauge how their smartphone use impacts their real-world social interaction. 90% of the participants confessed to doom scrolling while socializing with friends and family, checking their devices seven times each night out on average. 62% admitted to checking social media while socializing, 36% checked work emails, and 30% confessed to a cheeky gaming sesh instead of engaging with friends and family.

Read more: the best dumbphones

(Image credit: Heineken, HMD)

But do young people really want to be so distracted by smartphones, or is this more of a dependency/addiction? Tellingly, the survey also suggests 32% would like to be able to disconnect from their phones when on a night out, and 22% go further and already turn their phone off or leave it at home before a social occasion.

So with a growing desire to banish smart tech and return to a simpler life, a device named The Boring Phone starts to make sense. This is a phone deliberately purged of superfluous 'features', instead retaining the bare essentials: it'll make calls, send texts, it has a few simple games, and a basic camera. And we do mean basic - at 0.3 megapixels, you'll be shooting images just 640 x 480 pixels. But hey, that all adds to the retro appeal. The Boring Phone may be boring as far as distractions go, but it does have enough aesthetic appeal to foster a conversation at the bar. The flip-phone form factor is timelessly cool, while the transparent phone casing stands out from the smartphone crowd - it even comes with some stickers.

(Image credit: Heineken, HMD)

The timing of The Boring Phone's launch couldn't be better. Noughties tech is now very much in fashion, with Gen Z celebs flaunting cameras and tech from the 2000s. The Boring Phone emulates what we love about mobile phones from that time period - simple functionality, rugged construction, and long battery life - but it packages these benefits in a modern device that'll connect to current mobile networks. To hit the fashion mark, Heineken also consulted with Bodega, a Boston-based conceptual retail space for street culture and contemporary fashion, to ensure the phone's aesthetic appeals to its target demographic.

The Boring Phone will be unveiled on April 18 at a pop-up Bodega at Milan Design Week; the world’s leading festival for design and innovation. The production run will be limited to 5000 units, but if you don't manage to bag a Boring Phone, an app "that will turn smartphones boring" is said to be launching in June that'll emulate the Boring Phone experience on a conventional smartphone.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.