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Companies starting to make products to reduce mobile phone use

Eight years after the first iPhone came out, Americans are starting to seek products that help them cut back on their mobile phone use.

The New York Times reports that the proliferation of smartphones has resulted in massive amounts of time spent staring at a mobile screen. eMarketer has found that more than half of the American population owns a smartphone and, moreover, that many owners spend on average three hours a day looking at their screens or searching in search engines.

The three hours do not reflect the amount of time users actually spend talking on their phones.

Another Bank of America survey found that close to 33% of smartphone users claim to “constantly” check their phones and that 67% go to bed with their phones by their side. A separate survey from another company shows that nearly two-thirds of consumers are more likely to purchase products from a website that is mobile-compatible.

As a result of what some consider to be an over-dependence on smartphone use, some companies are developing products and services (including, ironically, smartphone apps) to wean users off.

“Technology has evolved so quickly that we have spiraled out of control and nobody has stopped to think about how this is going to impact our lives,” said Kate Unsworth, the founder of Kovert, a British company that makes “high-tech jewelry” which filters out all but the most important smartphone features, such as phone calls and texts.

The products companies like Kovert make can be categorized as “wearable technology,” which encourages users to look at their phones less. Apple was one of the first major technology companies to offer such technology when it released the Apple Watch. Since then, other prominent companies like Google and Levi’s announced their intention to make “high tech clothing” capable of, among other things, turning off a ringing phone by swiping their jacket cuff.

“If there is a chance to enable the clothes that we already love to help us facilitate access to the best and most necessary of this digital world while maintaining eye contact with the person we’re eating dinner with, this is a real value,” said Paul Dillinger, Head of Global Product Innovation at Levi’s.

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