The story behind Sunbeam phones.

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As you already know, smartphones have changed society in a fundamental way. And while some of that change has been positive, some of it has also been negative.  

One of the problems smartphones bring is easy access to inappropriate content. This problem is well recognized by most people and many religious groups take steps to limit their exposure to inappropriate content. (Here at Sunbeam we’re part of a Christian community called Mennonites). 

The other problem with smartphones is the sheer volume of content. This problem is perhaps a bit more subtle but is starting to become much more understood, as well as the negative impact that it’s having on society. In this case, the content can be completely appropriate, but without some checks and balances in place, we find ourselves getting sucked into an endless scroll of content. The content itself can be very acceptable, but the sheer volume of the content begins to take over our life and after a while, we don’t have time for the most important things in life. It seems that our offline relationships with friends and family tend to suffer. 

Here at Sunbeam we’re not opposed to using technology. I use an iPhone while at work and it functions very well for me. But I keep it sparse, perhaps even minimalistic, with only a few apps installed. And while this can work well for some users, it does take configuration. (And self-discipline). Specifically, an off-the-shelf smartphone will come preinstalled with a lot of features and it takes some time to remove and/or limit them. While some people enjoy fiddling around with all the settings, many of us don’t and “just want it to work”. If you get a filter installed on it (which is a really good choice, by the way), it can work well, but it also adds cost and complexity. 

Nelson Hoover and I were talking about the concept of making a device that was already configured right from the factory and didn’t have all the “extra stuff”. We thought: “How hard could this be?”, and the concept behind Sunbeam was born. (Turns out it was harder than we thought).