Young adults areto help cut down on screen time, and Motorola has interpreted that trend quite literally with its new Razr. The company’s new foldable phone, which launches in the US on Oct. 19 and is regularly priced at $700, has a special mode designed to minimize distractions.
Appropriately called Unplugged, this feature lets you temporarily tune out every app except for the few you truly need access to. It’s a lot like Apple’s Focus mode, except Motorola’s version goes a step further by hiding apps you haven’t greenlit. Unplugged is launching on the new Razr and will be coming to the Razr Plus in the coming weeks. Motorola says new devices moving forward will have the feature as well, in another sign that tech companies are catering to younger Gen Z audiences looking to disconnect from technology.
“People have tried so many different ways to help them manage their phone usage,” said Lexi Valasek, a senior product researcher at Motorola. “But there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all to this problem, especially since people disconnect in different ways.”
Unplugged allows you to put your phone in a special mode with a custom background and a different layout that only provides access to the apps of your choosing. If you’re on a hike, for example, you might only want access to the camera app and a few other communication apps, while blocking out social media. The altered layout is key because it can prevent you from habitually reaching for a distracting app based on muscle memory, according to Valasek.
“It can help to combat that instinctual motion and movement of opening those things that really take you out of the moment,” she said.
That’s similar to Apple’s Focus Mode, which lets you curate a new version of your home screen with handpicked apps, potentially making it harder to reach time-sucking apps. But the iPhone’s App Library is still just a swipe away, whereas Motorola’s Unplugged mode completely hides apps from the operating system until the feature is turned off. However, you can allow phone calls and alerts from priority contacts, like family members or your child’s school.
Motorola’s Unplugged mode comes after there’s been increased attention being paid to the amount of time we’re spending on our phones. Americans check their phones 144 times per day, according to a study frompublished in July 2023, which surveyed 1,000 Americans aged 18 years or older. That same study also indicated more than half of Americans have said they’re addicted to their phone.
Apple and Google, which operate the world’s most widely used mobile software platforms, have added more features to iOS and Android in recent years to address such concerns. Before Focus Mode arrived in 2021’s iOS 15 update, Apple brought a feature called Screen Time to the iPhone, which lets you see how much time you’re spending in certain apps. Google’s Android operating system also has a suite of tools for managing screen time called Digital Wellbeing.
But that hasn’t stopped Gen Z users from trading smartphones for flip phones in recent years as part of an effort to unplug. Thehas 58.2 million views at the time of writing. Market research firm says sales of feature phones, or more basic mobile phones that essentially fall in between a cell phone and a smartphone, are seeing a resurgence, thanks to interest from Gen Z and millennial users.
That’s the target audience for Motorola’s new $700 Razr, not to be confused with the $1,000 Razr Plus, which debuted in June. (The Razr is called the Razr 40 in some international markets and is currently available for in the UK and in Australia.)
Motorola’s cheaper new phone has a significantly smaller 1.5-inch external screen compared to the Plus’ 3.6-inch cover display, which the company views as being more ideal for those who are trying to manage screen time.
“When you close the device, you’re taking a break from your phone,” she said.