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A US-based telecommunications company started a contest to find someone to downgrade from a smartphone to an old-school flip phone in exchange for $1,000.
The company, Frontier Communications, invited people to join its contest to survive a week without a smartphone. US residents who are smartphone-dependent, are always on top of the latest tech news, and are active on social media were encouraged to apply.
A winner was chosen and rewarded with $1,000 last July 8. In addition to the prize money, the winner received a kit containing objects that serve as alternatives to smartphone apps. The kit included a map, a phone book, a pen and notebook, and music CDs.
The contest has a contract stipulating that the winner should not use smartphones and tablets for seven days. However, in case the Internet is needed for work, a laptop or computer could be used.
Apart from using a flip phone, the winner also has to document the whole experience, including how long it takes to text and check e-mails. Changes in productivity and sleep hours during the week also need to be noted. Also, the winner has to report how many times he or she wished to check something online.
According to Javier Mendoza, a Frontier Communications executive, the contest was created as part of a social experiment meant to understand how technology is used in the modern age. The experiment’s main goal is to find someone who uses a smartphone a lot and to observe how that person survives challenges without it.