What a Smartphone Addict needs

As a Smartphone Addict and Internet Addict, I definitely do not want:

  • Video Entertainment Playback Capability (Youtube, Netflix, Fb…)

  • Social Media

  • Mobile Games

  • Constant buzzing and blinking from notifications and red badges on Apps (unless you explicitly choose so for important reminders for work and so on)

For some features I am not sure if they should be included, but if they are, there needs to be an application that allows you to block or limit their use. Think of the ScreenTime Application for iOs or the Cold Turkey program for Mac and Windows. You should not only be able to limit screen time, but also block certain categories on your browser, such as: Entertainment, News, Shopping and Adult Content. This concerns:

  • Internet Browser

  • Direct Messaging (What’s App, Fb Messenger, Telegram and so on)

  • Sound Applications (Music, Podcasts, Audiobooks etc.)

  • Email

  • Reading and Text Applications (Ebooks, News Apps…)

What I do want, is tools, that help me for my work and my life. That includes:

  • Phone Calls, Video Calls (ie. Skype), Alarm and clocks, Calendar, Notes, Reminders, Weather, Navigation Apps, Translators, E-banking and E-pay, Tickets, Camera and Photos, ScreenTime and Blocking Applications

  • Numbershare in order to use it as a secondary phone, Auto-Synch with other devices, a modern Touchscreen with multitouch, water resistance and a long lasting battery

  • high end specs and quality components and continuous updates so that the phone does not become obsolete within a short time.

I don’t regard Smartphones or the Internet in itself as a bad thing. It depends what they are designed for. In essence a smartphone should be a tool, rather than a distraction. It should focus on connecting people and supporting them in real life rather than entertaining them and sucking them into an artificial world. It should be designed as easy and uncomplicated as possible, so that even elderly people can just pick it up and use it for whatever they need to use it for and then put it away again.

Smartphones and the Internet are here to stay, they will be more and more integrated in our lives, whether we want it or not. Even my now retired parents are forced into that world. They despise it, but they have no choice. When they want tickets for something, they have to get them online. Their Bank gives them no choice but to use E-banking, All their friends are on What’s App, Telephone and TV are no longer available in analogue.

What matters is that we don’t get completely lost in the digital sphere and only use it when it is beneficial to get a task quickly done.

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Thank you for taking the time to get in touch and for your insightful and detailed comment about what a smartphone addict needs @spongothedongo.

Mudita aren’t against the use of the internet or technology, we’re trying to change people’s approach to it. We use it every day. Without it we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. However, the overuse of distracting devices that constantly divert our attention every couple of minutes, that we touch and look at more than anything else throughout the day really didn’t seem right to us.

People still have a choice. They can choose to switch off after work by having both a smartphone and a feature phone or if possible, they can choose to switch off altogether.

If a bank doesn’t offer in branch banking and that’s what someone wants, they can still get that elsewhere. There’s also the option to use a computer, online banking isn’t limited to the use of a smartphone application.

Landlines still exist, I used one this morning, as do television channels without an internet connection. If someone really wants to spend more time offline, they can but the thing is, they don’t have to, they have a choice. That’s what it’s about, understanding that you can choose how you use technology.

Using greyscale, switching off notifications, removing social media apps etc. are all techniques that can help us maintain control over our smartphone use.

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Telegram etc. won’t be included in Mudita Pure, nor will some of the other applications you’ve mentioned. I appreciate your suggestions and I understand them.

However, our first product was designed to be as minimal as possible in terms of its features. It will become my secondary device as I do still require a smartphone for work but I know it will become the secondary device of others too.

The need to introduce more balance to our relationship with technology has become so crucial to our products that despite the occasional criticism we encounter, we do feel as though we’re on the right track.

By raising awareness of just how much time people spend on their devices, we might make (even the tiniest) difference to someone’s life.

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Thank you for your detailed response. I should have specified which of your planned products I was referring to. I was not talking about your Mudita Pure Feature phone. This is already a well rounded and fine product, to which I have nothing to add and I congratulate you for it. It would make no sense to suddenly ask for a touchscreen or a color display.

I was referring to the concepts for your new „Next generation E Ink device“, as you write on your website. It says that you are „working on a series of electronic devices that will be able to address different needs by putting your health and digital wellbeing first.“ The outlines of your concept sketch show something that more closely resembles a smartphone. I just wanted to give my opinion on what a future devices should focus on. Perhaps I should have tagged it or put it in another rubric. My apologies. I did not want to accuse anyone of technology phobia.

Also I wanted to make clear that in no way, I want to pressure anyone into thinking that they need need a smartphone now and all the time! And that there aren’t ways to live without smartphones and Internet. But rather I wanted to emphasize that long term, we will be more and more forced to deal with the negative implications off all of it and it is important to get on top of that and design smartphones in a way that serve us, instead of the opposite.

Personally I experience a clear pattern, where companies and even governments are trying to save money by digitalizing content and services, from bills, forms and customer service to tax declarations and election ballots. This all might be different in your respective home countries, but in my home country they did indeed turn off analogue Tv and Landline connections and replaced it with digital Fiberglass cable connections. You can still have a landline and a tv without a computer and smartphone, but not without an internet connection. And with the arrival of the 5g network, the mobile providers here in my country announced that they will turn off 2g by the end of the year. And so it is not hard to imagine, that at some point in the future 3g will follow and then 4g and so on. And while it is true, that not all of our Banks require you to have an access key application on your smartphone, I can see similar developments in my bank (a different bank). At university most of the files and forms need to be accessed online too. I think we can start to see where this is all going. Some regions of the world will experience these developments faster than others, while some might be exempted from them for a long time, but in the developed world this will be the exception in my view.

And then there is the whole issue of social peer pressure. I witnessed a lot of friends and family members, who are not technology fans, hold on to their feature phones for a long time, while everyone else was switching to smartphones. But at some point they too decided that they needed or wanted to be on What’s App, which is how most of the people in my country communicate.

So, in light of all this, what I want in a future smartphone, is all the useful tools minus the mindless entertainment and distractions. It does not even have to be a new phone, it could be a new operating system, that you can install on an existing device.

If your future new concept phone is meant to be used as a secondary phone, then it can be in my view almost as minimalistic as your Mudita Pure feature phone, but perhaps with a touchscreen or at least a physical qwerty keyboard, instead of the T9 keyboard. Also if possible, it should contain Numbershare, so that switching between devices is easier.

But if your next devices are meant to be used as primary devices and therefore a replacement for current standard smartphones, it would definitely need more features, including an internet browser and direct messages, but would need to find a way to restrict and limit it.

Thank you for listening to my rant. I hope that I was able to give you some ideas for your future devices and operating systems in case you planned any. Good luck with your current product. I hope you succeed, so that many more will follow!

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