Cell phone interfaces seem to inexorably become more complicated as time goes on.
The 2010-era smartphone relied on a small number of obviously-interactable elements, but 2020’s smartphones are quite sophisticated (and complicated) from a UI standpoint, with finger-sliding gestures, multiple screens of icons, and even the possibility of splitting the screen to show more than one app at a time.
Now that phones are fast enough to run pretty much any software, we can add an alternative “minimalist mode” to a cell phone, where the phone reboots into a restricted interface that only has a certain limited set of options.
What exactly constitutes a “minimalist mode” is up for debate, but it’s possible that a user could select from a number of relatively-sparse cell phone interfaces featuring only the “most essential” elements (e.g. perhaps a dialer, SMS, and map). Figure 1 shows a possible single-screen “minimalist” interface.
It really feels like a more polished version of this could be an actual product: it could be useful as both a “restricted use mode” for phones for small children AND a “get off my lawn” mode for curmudgeonly oldsters who are still hoping for a revival of the flip phone.
PROS: Can be implemented entirely in software, would be a highly-differentiated unique feature for a phone (at least until every other manufacturer copied it in 4–6 months).