Andy Rubin contributed to the creation of the top mobile operating system and now seeks to break the usage habit.
Smartphone addiction has become a rampant and yet widely under-recognized problem in societies throughout the world. Andy Rubin, a co-founder of Android – the leading mobile operating system worldwide – has now become an unlikely advocate for breaking the mobile device habit.
Rubin is by no means advocating for the cessation of the use of mobile devices of all kinds.
That said, he has expressed his profound concern regarding the growing rate of smartphone addiction. In a recent media interview, he pointed out that it is now commonplace to see diners in restaurants spending far more time using their devices than interacting with each other or enjoying their food. It seems as though it would be nearly impossible to enjoy a full meal without seeing someone take out a device for a selfie, pictures of their meals, or simply using the device to send texts or play with other various apps.
Android currently powers approximately 85 percent of all smartphones worldwide. While Rubin remains proud of his contribution to the operating system and sees the smartphone revolution – and his role in it – as a positive one, he also acknowledges a serious downside.
Now, Rubin has launched a hardware company called Essential, which is tasked with breaking the smartphone addiction.
While most of his career has been geared toward making smartphones more appealing and a more central part of our daily lives, Rubin is now taking a new direction. Through Essential, he is seeking to find a solution for our tendency to continually check our phones for various types of alerts, updates and other information or entertainment.
“We all lived happy lives before we had always-on internet,” said Rubin at the interview on the heels of Essential’s first gadget unveiling of the Essential Phone.
The Essential Phone certainly looks and functions like a smartphone. It is not designed by any of the top premium names such as Samsun, Apple or Google, nor is it made by a popular discount Chinese firm. It is designed with titanium edges, a mirrored ceramic back, a display that nearly covers the front of the phone, and a magnetic connector allowing for widespread hardware and accessory upgrades. The idea is to let people keep their devices longer – another anomaly in this marketplace.
The way this device will help combat smartphone addiction has to do with the use of artificial intelligence. It is meant to use that tech to change the interaction people have with their devices. Algorithms will be able to take over some of the more tedious tasks usually completed by mobile device users. In this way, the hope is that people will be able to free themselves from continually checking their phones so they can go about their days. “If I can get to the point where your phone is a virtual version of you, you can be off enjoying your life, having that dinner, without touching your phone, and you can trust your phone to do things on your behalf,” he said, adding that “I think I can solve part of the addictive behavior.”