From checking emails, taking selfies and flicking through endless social media news feeds, our smartphones seem to occupy every waking moment of our daily lives. But one Swiss tech company is on a mission to take back our time by creating not a smartphone, but a ‘dumb’phone – a mobile device that only does calls and texts.
Said to limit social media and app distraction, the stylish MP01 by Punkt places more emphasis on old school communication. “A regular mobile phone has a lot of stash that you don’t need, and it often wants to almost be a 'smartphone’,” said Petter Neby, founder and CEO of Punkt, on the device now available at $330.
Q: Why did you decide to create this kind of phone?
I have built Punkt to respond to an ever-growing sociological issue: how technology is taking over our lives. I mean, I love technology, I’m a strong believer, but that doesn’t mean that it should take over our lives. We are about to forget the value of conversation, and we have never been this social, and still have we never been this lonely! Look around, people don’t interact any longer, not even a romantic dinner is without smartphone interruption.
Q: Your phone doesn’t have internet, so do you think people would be interested in it?
The reason for the massive interest in the phone is that it is a product that enters the domain of this “always switched on” issue: the smartphone, which is a fantastic piece of technology that renders great services to us all, but conscious people are slowly learning that being “always switched on” has some pretty nasty consequences. The Punkt phone helps us switch off the smartphone more frequently – such as when office hours is over, but being available for family and real friends, and take back control of our life, and live it!
Q: How does this device work?
Classic GSM mobile telephony: you switch on, and after two seconds you can make calls and send SMS messages. The battery lasts a week for normal use – three weeks in standby. You can store around 2,000 contacts, which you can import from your Mac or PC.
Q: Tell us about the advantages of the phone.
Everything has been built to give minimal distraction and add quality to its main feature; to make calls – whether hands-free or regular, the sound is very good. Then, a regular mobile phone has a lot of stash that you don’t need, and it often wants to be a “smartphone”. We are “purpose built”, which is why our battery should last you longer since there aren’t any games or other features. Lastly, we think it’s a beautiful mobile phone – with a timeless design aesthetic, so you will not want to change it or buy a new one, only change battery after seven years of usage.
Q: What does the future hold for your phone?
I want this mobile phone to help us have a conversation and talk about the importance of taking control of technology, and thereby reach a broader audience. I think the phone has a very bright future.