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Kids' latest trend: The 'Drunk Phone'

It seems that many who go out knowing they might have a good time have a second, dull phone that substitutes for their precious, not-to-be-lost smartphone.

Is this a Drunk Phone?
James Martin/CNET

Perhaps this all started with an iPhone prototype left in a bar by a sozzled Apple employee.

Perhaps it merely started when Jemima Puddleduck spilled her shot of tequila over her precious, shiny HTC and had to tell her Facebook friends about it.

It seems, though, that the young and restless have found a new solution to the problem of spilling alcoholic solution on their precious, expensive smartphones -- or even worse, losing the gadgets altogether.

It's called the "Drunk Phone."

I cannot say I have seen too many brightly dressed, dull young things brandishing prehistoric cell phones in bars.

However, Ad Age has pointed me toward the deeply intellectual inebriation work of media group Starcom MediaVest.

It seems Starcom MediaVest was researching the beer category -- something media people often do -- when it discovered a revelation.

In the words of Starcom MediaVest's Laura Krajecki: "In studying beer, we started to discover that young adults cherish their smartphones and iPhones so much that they don't want to lose them if they have an epic night out."

Cherish. Wasn't that David Cassidy's debut album?

This cherishing of the smartphone, this rabid fear that without it they might become an anonymous young person in a bar, leads them to a fine -- if retrograde-- solution.

"Now they take what they call their 'drunk phone,' a cheap low-end phone, so now they are carrying two phones because they don't want to lose their smartphone," said Krajecki.

Some will automatically wonder which low-end phones might have suddenly become popular.

A little something from Huawei? The Ascend, perhaps? Or maybe a Samsung Conquer 4G?

I worry, though, what such choices are doing for these young fun-lovers.

It's not as if they buy phones for functionality. They buy them for the sheer sexiness -- the sort that, say, iPhone possession carries with it.

What happens when their friends see them with a low-end phone? How might their image be suddenly destroyed? What happens when they become the subject of finger-pointing or, worse, someone else's critical Facebook update?

Isn't carrying around a cheap phone on a drunken night the equivalent of wearing a bib, just in case you have a few too many?

I am concerned that this trend -- unusual for a trend, this -- has not been fully thought through.