Light Phone 2 Destined to Disappoint

Light Phone 2

A crowdfunding campaign has launched for a new cellphone equipped with an E Ink screen called the Light Phone 2.

It’s meant to be simple phone with a minimum amount of features in order to cut away at distractions. The plan is to include a few core tools like an alarm clock, messaging, basic maps, and playlists to listen to music.

For some odd reason they’ve elected to use an E Ink screen, despite the fact the phone appears to offer no ereading features whatsoever (that would be too distracting).

The irony of the “Light” Phone 2 is the fact that there’s no mention of it having a light, so the E Ink screen will be easy to read outside but in a dark environment you won’t be able to see anything. Clever!

I’ve seen this story before and it doesn’t end well.

These type of crowdfunded E Ink devices almost never live up to expectations. After several delays getting the hardware shipped, the software usually falls short because they underestimate the immense challenge involved in creating an operating system that runs smoothly on an E Ink screen without a lot of lagging and visible artifacts.

The developers of the Light Phone 2 have no idea what they’re getting themselves into. E Ink screens come with a lot of complications, both with hardware and software.

So in 1 year’s time they expect to fully develop a new E Ink phone from the ground up hardware-wise, while at the same time writing their own custom software based off of Android, all while never having worked with E Ink before? Good luck with that!

And yet nearly 2000 gullible backers have already forked over more than a half million dollars for the Light Phone 2 in just a couple of days.

The device doesn’t even exist yet. They haven’t even shown a working prototype. At this point all it really is is an idea. How do people keep falling for these unproven crowdfunding campaigns?

If you would like to be disappointed by the Light Phone 2 when (if) it gets released after a lengthy delay, all you have to do is pony up $250. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Light Phone 2

12 Responses to “Light Phone 2 Destined to Disappoint”

  1. The risks and fallbacks of some features would be acceptable….if it wasn’t so expensive!

  2. Good review.
    I hope they can do it a new product with good quality, with light, and function like ereader. It seems for me like palm TX.

  3. I don’t get it, either. Why not just order a Hisense A2 on Aliexpress? It will cost about the same after shipping and customs, and it’s a full-fledged, modern Android phone with a full HD Amoled on the front and e-ink on the back. You can have widgets there or the whole Android interface. Don’t want distractions? Don’t install social networking apps or turn the notifications off!
    At this price I think the Lightphone is a ripoff.

  4. Incredible scam, just search at eBay AIEK card phone… it is starting from 10 USD. That basic function is going beyond basic anyway, navigation in this phone, seriously with CC size it will be enough of the battery for 2.5 seconds… Typing quickly text on e-ink – BWAHAHAHA.

    • Those are insanely cheap and are probably more effective than a Light Phone. I never understood how they make any money off of stuff like that when it ships from China. You’d think the shipping costs alone would make it unprofitable but apparently not.

  5. For this application, wouldn’t it make more sense for people to go full Normcore/people’s-dads and revive a flip phone? Their little prototype is pretty, but my old Razr was also pretty. . . and it lit up.

  6. I can see the pessimism for a device like this and the criticism for no e-reading ability (this is an e-reader blog after all). Clearly you understand e-ink displays as well. However, I’m not sure the device is really meant to “compete” with smartphones and is not in any way trying to be an e-reader. So it is sort of a strange criticism in that regard. Like me criticizing this website for not doing reviews of laptops. I’m supporting this venture so I clearly have a stake in the outcome. At the same time if it doesn’t work out I’m glad to support people and companies who are trying to make technology that is a tool for life instead of technology that exists for its own telos.

  7. “So in one year’s time they expect to fully develop a new E Ink phone from the ground up hardware-wise, while at the same time writing their own custom software based off of Android, all while never having worked with E Ink before?”
    Not true, this is the second edition with more features.
    “The device doesn’t even exist yet. They haven’t even shown a working prototype.”
    Incorrect. Business Insider has a piece on this phone and it looks sleek and excellent, if a bit pricey. I would get one

    • E Ink is compatible with a very limited amount of hardware components, so probably nothing from the 1st gen model is going to be the same, and the software has to be completely re-done and optimized for E Ink. The 1st gen model has super basic software that only does one thing so it’s not like they’re dealing with fully-functioning software. Everything is going to have to change for the second gen model. All Business Insider has shown at this point is a nonfunctional mock-up and computer-generated images straight out of the promo video.

  8. Agreed… e-ink is great for tons of things… everyday feature/smart phone use is NOT one of those things. Had this been a crowndfund for a nice, sleek flip phone with a medium sized e-ink screen and a traditional T9 keypad, it’d make tons more sense. Not too many folks fall into the category of wanting an incredibly smart feature phone that doubles as a really dumb smart phone. There’s really no middle area, here. Folks want either a smart phone (powerhouse, entry level, or something between) or they want a feature phone that does ONLY what a feature phone does… with no bells or whistles, and certainly no smartphone price tag.

    It’s a shame, really. E-ink tech has tons of promise in mobile phones… just not at this price point or with this mishmash of performance tier features. A front-lit, solid, rugged, SMALL flip phone with an e-ink screen makes sense… not this mess.

  9. Wow… 10 days in, and 3,000 people have backed almost a million dollars. Hopefully they can deliver on their promises.