Optional Downgrade: Low-tech
While walking down the street, typing on my cutting-edge smartphone, I suddenly got a shock hearing something familiar, yet strange. It was the clicking sound of a flip-phone, like the one I had used a few years ago. I was curious why she was using an old-fashioned phone, not a brand-new smartphone. Her case is not unique; like some you see around these days. She was not the only person I have seen recently, who was using an "old thing". Some of these are simplified gadgets, not necessarily old. Why are people choosing such downgraded items? What attracts them to a life of simple and old-style?
What Is Low-tech
In modern society, new-tech and high-tech gadgets and electronic devices are pouring out minute by minute, second by second. Some of these technologies are practical and useful in our lives. However, other technologies are too professionalized to operate, so some consider those cutting-edge tech things useless. The technologies which have been developed beyond our modernday needs are called, ‘too much technology'.
In this type of circumstance, ‘low-technology' has emerged. ‘Low-technology' is a term coined as an opposite concept for "high-technology”. Ironically, low-tech is not a synonym for ancient and traditional electronics. As a matter of fact, low-tech describes technology that is a merge between modernity and old-fashioned skill. In lowtechnology, old concepts appear to be maximized with modern materials and design.
Merits of Low-tech
So far, we have seen what low-tech is,and the circumstance it has emerged out from. The next question is, “What are some benefits of low-tech?". Here are a few answers.
First, most low-tech products focus on a main, single-point function, as opposed to the rather brand new, cutting-edge devices, which possess an enormous amount of technological features and functions. However, some of these most recent functions seem pretty useless and impractical. In addition, people do not normally need thousands of functions. Meanwhile, low-tech products focus on developing one main function to near perfection. Next is the reasonable price When you purchase a product, price plays a big role in making your choice. Compared with high-tech products, low-tech products are cheap. Low tech devices only have core functions, so it is relatively cheaper than high-tech devices. Finally, intuitiveness is also an outstanding feature of low-tech. When you see new, cutting-edge products, there are plenty of buttons. These interfaces can be useful to seasoned hands which would be familiar with high-tech devices. But those who are unfamiliar with these kinds of devices, will have trouble operating the high-tech products. You can see the examples on the right side of this double page.
What Are Your Needs?
Consider the two examples of electronics: those equipped with many functions and technological features; and those with a variety of technologies used less frequently. Former are hi-tech and latter are low-tech. Have a look at the examples of daily used machines and think of what you might need out of the two choices.
High Tech: Galaxy Fold
Phones are being innovated so rapidly and infinitely. In September, Samsung launched a new phone in Korea, Galaxy Fold. The Galaxy Fold has an enormous amount of functions. For example, the 5G internet service provides its incredibly fast internet speed. Also, there are 6 cameras installed. This phone is revolutionary, in that it can be folded in half. The display size of the opened phone is 7.2 inches, which is big enough to use up to three applications at the same time, on the same screen. Despite the high price of $1,980, it is being sold world-wide.
Low-Tech: The Light Phone
The Light Phone was launched after a crowd-funding campaign. On this phone, people can add and remove the tools they wish to use, such as a calculator, music player, alarms, and navigation apps through the user-customizable toolbox. For the Light Phone 2, there are also some useful functions added to use maps and summon a taxi. However, this phone never serves the internet, news, or SNS. The light phone developers mentioned, “there is no infinity, just intention”. The light phone 2 is sold at $350.
High Tech: Gaming Mouse
The gaming mouse is designed for gamers to play PC games conveniently. Unlike an optical mouse that people usually use, a gaming mouse has several macro-buttons on it, whose specific functions gamers can program individually. The gaming mouse allows users to adjust their own *polling rate of the mouse, relative to the games they play. The clicking lifespan is higher, and the handgrip of the mouse is better for gaming than with an optical mouse. Designs are also various with differing degrees of fanciness.
* Polling rate: The polling rate of a mouse is an indication of how many times a mouse reports its position to the PC.
Low-Tech: Trackball Mouse
Trackball mouse is a type of PC mouse that has small balls inside of them which serves as a pointer on the PC. It works similarly to the ball-mouse that was used before the optical mouse was developed. A trackball mouse only needs fingers to operate it, so it causes less strain to the users’ wrists. All the functions are performed similarly to an optical mouse. However, it might be difficult to handle the sophisticated works. The trackball mouse can be used anywhere - whether on smooth, uneven, or soft surfaces.
High Tech: Electric Rice Cooker
The newly-launched rice cooker has recipes programmed into it. Pressing a button, you can see 16 kinds of rice cooking recipes, 35 food recipes, as well as calories displayed on the LCD screen. There is also an automatic washing function, and a self error-acknowledging system. Nevertheless, due to too many functions, some find it difficult to operate the machine easily and intuitively.
Low-Tech: Small Rice Cooker
The small rice cooker has focused on having one main function: cooking rice. Thus, you can simply press the “cook” button, and after a while your rice will be ready. Despite the simplicity and size, it functions the same as general rice cooker.
The development of technology is infinite and rapid. They are, however, at the tip of an iceberg. It has continuously been progressing from years past until now, but still seems to be never ending. So, does this means hi-tech is for everyone? Each individual has to figure out what their own personal tech needs are and how each new gadget or appliance fits into your life.
Focusing on what you need, and establishing your own consuming habits are important in the flood of information and technology. Low technology can be a solution, but you still have to keep in mind that everyone has different preferences, abilities, and needs. It is you who choose what’s best for you.