The Norwegian founder of Punkt has invented a revolutionary phone that calls and texts and says, ‘I don’t need the internet with me everywhere I go’. But what’s the big idea behind the smarter smartphone from Norway?
Punkt is a cousin of the feature phone, but it’s still a modern connected device aimed at helping you maintain a normal lifestyle. “A dumb phone for the smart person who still wants to stay connected, the Punkt MP02 4G ditches digital detoxing to tame your tech instead.” If you’re a slave to your smartphone, the Punkt wants to break those chains.
What’s actually the big idea? “It’s a low-tech mobile phone that offers only the most basic functions: call, text and reminders. Everything we do at Punkt is about taming technology,” says founder Petter Neby.
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A post-modern anti-flagship
In other words, Punkt is a post-modern anti-flagship that suggests putting a full stop to the distractions and diversions of modern life. Punkt’s first phone only had 2G connection, which is gradually being phased out around the world. Adding 4G LTE makes sense for longevity, but because the MP-02 doesn’t have a browser, navigation, email, or social networks, it doesn’t improve the phone itself.
The average person checks their phone 150 times a day. 85 percent of people have no problem using their phones while talking to friends or family. Total daily media consumption has increased from eight hours in 2010 to over 12 hours in 2019. 24/7/365 connectivity isn’t always a good thing. 47 percent of people have tried to limit their phone use, but only 30 percent succeeded.
“I have nothing against technology,” says Petter Nerby. “It’s great, we need it, and we should use it – but the way we use it today can be overwhelming.”
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Ruggedness with charaxcter
The hardware design is basically set and the company has no plans to change that. Punkt MP02-4G combines ruggedness with character and a timeless minimalism that probably will look striking decades from now. The buttons and shape of this phone are pleasing to touch and to hold, and the overall construction has a high-end feel that belies the primitive hardware and capabilities contained within.
That being said, when you need to make a call or send and receive texts, the MP02 is all 2020, linking its 4G Voice over LTE (VoLTE) connection with a tablet or laptop to keep you in touch. It also serves as a WiFi hotspot.
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Established in 2008
Punkt was established in 2008, when Petter Neby wanted a simple, functional and well-designed alarm clock. The brand’s debut product, the DPOT card-less phone, launched in 2011, shortly followed by the alarm clock, AC01. “Punkt is about using technology to help us adopt good habits for less-distracted lives.”
In spite of having a 4G radio, Punkt MP02 can’t access the internet at all. In spite of being based on Android, it has no apps. Punkt has 16GB of internal storage and the fanciest bit of multimedia, but no camera. Punkt gets a 4G LTE modem, tethering support, and BlackBerry’s security suite. But all you get out of it are some bespoke ringtones. So why bother?
Because you can’t buy attention and focus. A smartphone often becomes a deep dive of notifications, updates and time-sucking diversions, while the MP02 is a conscious, principled rebellion against the tethering, often strangling blanket of modern communication.
A smarter smartphone from Norway
“I could never imagine that MP02 would replace my smartphone,” says Neby. “It’s a second device. When I finish work, I would switch off my smartphone, like I switch off my computer, and use MP02 for social calls and messages.”
The price of the Punkt MP-02 is $350, or 295 British pounds which is about the same as the Palm. It may put some would-be adopters off. A $350 price is a lot for a second device, but the Punkt is really designed to be your only phone, for which that cost is not obscene.
The Punkt MP02 does calls, texts, and serves as a handy 4G hotspot when required. It also looks and feels great, and its 2-inch monochrome screen will likely never break. What more do we really need from a phone? You’re making a statement: I’m using technology when I need it. Technology is not using me.
A Smarter Smartphone From Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg