As an American Millennial looking to simplify and detoxify my digital life (millennial being 31, just as a reminder that we’re not that young a generation anymore) there’s a few conveniences of a smartphone that are important enough even in light of the goals this phone has.
For one, podcasts and audiobooks are a huge part of my life (especially now that I’m a father and have little time to read) and having apps to access/download/stream these is huge. Likewise my music delivery these days is streamed, and sure I can download that music for offline play and generally do so, but I still need access to the app in some form to do this. Maps are, as noted by some above, a huge part of my day, as is having an assistant keeping me vocally appraised of those directions when I’m on long drives (I live in Oregon, we have lots of big empty spaces to navigate through to get from city to city).
Now, as a tech nerd, tech worker (tech support for a company that will go unnamed, but whose products are almost synonymous with their form factors) and someone who would generally define themselves as an “ideas guy”, I think there are compromises and solutions that meet in the middle that could enable a more “smartphone” like experience while minimizing the sacrifices of the end goal.
For one, Podcasts, music, maps, these can all be downloaded and run in an “offline” capacity while I’m on the move. I just have to put in that bit of intention beforehand, and I think intention is where we find that middle ground. Pre-empting what needs to be done, or accessing data wirelessly as we INTEND to, and not just randomly in the background.
As an example I’ll point to the iPhone. While it is by all means an “always on” device, there’s an entire section in settings that allows you to control app refresh in the background: essentially picking and choosing what can and can’t access data when it’s not actively in use. If there were to be a “smartphone” from Mudita I think the aim would be to make this the default state, always offline with apps (unless on a local wireless network or something) and with the apps only functioning when they’re active and on screen.
Now, with that in mind, I’m not necessarily saying “let’s go full web browser, android, full google play app store” or anything like that. Again, I think that’s kind of against the mission statement. My thoughts are more… Linux-ified. Even if it were a branch of Mudita OS running on the phone, I think a set of toggles would be enough, or a small “app repository” of useful “applications” that don’t even have to be full applications. One of the things I’ve loved about the design of Chromebooks is the convenience of “Web Apps”. Simply saving a webpage, making it a standalone window, and voila. App.
Now, building in a browser but NOT giving actual access to it would be entirely possible (no way to launch it for the end user, but it’s there) and then having a selection of web apps that can be toggled on or off (adding them as selections to the home screen) would allow a nice curated approach to this for a Mudita Smartphone, as one possible solution. When such an “app” is unavailable and demands enough requests it would likely be simple enough to implement in an update as well, as all you’d have to do is add the website and therefore it’s “web app” as another option. No actual app needs to be made, the browser is handling all the work, and just about every modern browser has some form of this as they’re all generally based on either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. The phone now has a selection of curated applications without even the need for a linux style repository because it’s just the browser in the background being toggled on to provide access at the users request to these basic selective and fully optional services.
Just some surface thoughts. I’m new here, recently following the project, and have some ideas I’m kicking around to share. This is just kind of a first post and also first thoughts as I get to know the community. Keep up the good work!