Dumb It Down: John’s Phone Keeps It Simple, Not Stupid

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Getting a bit overwhelmed by cell phone technology?  Feel like you need a Ph.D from MIT — or Mr. Spock's private comm line — to suss out all the features on your iPhone/Android/Blackberry?  Ever get the feeling that, as your smartphone gets smarter, you're getting dumber?

John Doe Amsterdam feels your pain.  That's why they've created John's Phone, which strips away all the bells, whistles, and chrome from the cell phone experience.  John's Phone makes phone calls.  Period.  You'd have to go back to the old Motorola brick phones to get simpler than that.

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Here's the dealio: the phone is a quad-band, unlocked cell phone that'll work almost anywhere in the world, barring the 3G networks in Japan and South Korea.  Just pop in the SIM card of your choice and you're ready to start making calls — prepaid or contract, national or international.  The phone has a ten-number speed-dial memory, one ringtone with three volume levels plus vibrate, a non-removable battery with a standby time of three weeks (and the option to recharge either by wall adapter or USB cable), a simple LED display to show incoming/outgoing phone numbers and battery life, and headphones.  It comes in five colors: "snow" (white), "business" (black), "sweet" (pink), "grass" (green), and "wood" (black with brown buttons).

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Oh, it also includes an address book.  On the back of the phone.  A physical, paper address book and integrated pen.

All that simplicity, it turns out, comes with a price.  The phone costs ‚Ǩ69.95 (for the "snow" model, ‚Ǩ79.95 for all others).  Even the accessories are pricey.  Need new address books (in sets of three) and/or another pen?  That'll set you back ‚Ǩ9.95 each.  Still, if you travel a lot and simply want to stay in touch with your loved ones back home, the idea of a phone that'll work just about anywhere you can buy a SIM card can be quite appealing.

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