Why do so many potential backers want the Pure to work like a smartphone?

I pop in every once in a while to see how development is going, and most of what I see on these forums is smartphone users who seem to want the Mudita Pure to work just like a smartphone, without being one.

Why is this? For those of you asking that the dev team include a long list of smartphone conveniences, why? Why not just keep your smartphone and use it more wisely, or delete apps that distract you? It would seem that what you want isn’t a minimalist phone experience, but something else: an ad-free internet browser, muted notifications, no social media, and maybe most importantly, a novel device aesthetic. The first things are more than easy enough to accomplish with the phone you already have - just curate the right combination of apps, and delete the ones that bother you. If you do not have the willpower to delete social media apps from your phone so you can use the rest of its internet-enabled functionality, then that onus should not be placed on Mudita.

The question of device aesthetic is interesting. With everyone asking for entire suites of internet-enabled apps, email, turn-by-turn navigation (that will inevitably need to talk to you using a speech synthesizer as well), web browsers, ebooks, ridesharing, cameras, streaming… I can’t help but wonder if these sorts are more interested in the social signalling that will result from simply owning a device that doesn’t look like a gaudy smartphone, but still functions like one in every way that matters. It feels like a bid to look and feel “cool”, make others think that they’re using a dumbphone to convey to others that they’re not addicted to mindless scrolling like everyone else, when they are still so dependent on every other convenient aspect of smartphone ownership. Is it a matter of wanting to have one’s cake an eat it too? Why do these potential backers want the Mudita to do what their smartphones already do, but do it worse?

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I think the main problem is the amount of information available and limitation of human brain. The youngest generation is used to be always online, sharing their lives with community and friends. Smartphones have basically created a different way of living. Only recent neurological studies (I provide links for interested ones) are proving relation between such online activities and the structure of brain centers, responsible for perception of time and awareness. Those people can feel out of context, with missing self-reflection and in need of constant feedback from the online community, to feel alive and happy. It is sort of addiction on information. They will start looking for other ways how to calm their minds, but in the same way of living as they are used to = with the help of apps and online world. So they will attend expensive workshops, pay for special apps and online courses how to meditate and are lost again in the same amount of information. However reading about meditation is not meditation. So I think, all those smartphone-like feature requests are coming from people, who are not going to change their habits. Disclaimer: I was one of them :slight_smile:. I think there has to be some lowest point in life, which triggers the changes. Its always hard to disconnect and start again. Ironically, you are then more connected as you have been ever before. After some years, I prefer to have more single-purpose low-power devices, instead of “jack of all trades and master of none” with battery for a single day. The main idea of Zen is to focus in every moment on what you are doing right now. The whole life is meditation. Thinking too much and switching contexts is overload on your “processor”. Happiness is linear!

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I think there’s a quite big group of people who would like to change their relationship with technology but the convenience of using some of the smartphone’s features (like maps or music streaming) is discouraging them from making a bold move and switching to a dumb phone. It’s understandable I think. We are so used to convenience given by the technology that as a result we forget the risks it entails.
I agree that anyone can adjust his smartphone and make it less engaging. The issue is that habits are too strong and most of us don’t know how to change them (here I can recommend a book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg which can help in understanding mechanisms of our habits) and as a result the majority, after some time, is getting back to their old addictive apps and habits. They get annoyed and want a change but don’t know how to do it so they are looking for a gradual change or for a selective change (trying to change what’s bad while keeping the benefits). I can imagine using a smartphone that helps me in everyday “big city” live (allows to buy a public transportation ticket, use a scooter or call an Uber) but has somehow a difficult access to social media, games or even an email client. I should have to make a conscious decision when going to check my Instagram - one tap is too easy!
I hope it’s possible to find the right balance between solutions like Mudita Pure and smartphones and keep the benefits of both.

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I think the reason is that Mudita is a great alternative to smartphones, but it falls short on some of the most basic areas. Maps and GPS are a must in the United States and a podcast app allows for one not to be super bored while on the go. Users want to be more mindful of their use, but the convenience of chat apps, maps, etc, cannot be forgotten.

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@Wojciech_Wasiluk Very well said. There is a need for a balance between removing everyday tasks. Also, this may interfere with people’s jobs. I know I’ve been testing the Light Phone 2 and the lack of pictures was a killer for me. I love that the Light Phone will have maps, music, and podcasts. That’s all I need tbh, and I love that the device has it. I like Mudita’s design better so I’ll be trying it out once it comes out!!

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The question is where to draw the line.
Your post for example fits perfectly to the prototype of every other feature request: “Mudita Pure is cool, but I can’t live without the convenience of feature XYZ and I really want app ZYX to not be bored in life.”
The forum is full of these requests and everyone wants something else. Take the messenger app as example; some people ask for Whatsapp, others for Signal etc. Which one should Mudita implement? Same with maps or any other feature.
I think Mudita has chosen the most useful and most basic features that a mobile phone should have. Everything else would either be convenience or it would be difficult to agree on the specific implementation.

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Hey @steven, I don’t think anything more should be added to Mudita Pure. This is a simple and radical solution and it should stay that way. There are many users who will be more than happy with its simplicity and lack of apps. Yet there’s a big group of people who want something that’s more mainstream and still mindful, so there’s a room for another product imo.

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@Wojciech_Wasiluk I agree, that all those features have to be a different product. But there is a technical reason behind. There are basically three types of embedded systems, based on their power and performance: RTOS based, Linux based and Android based. Where for the first one you are fine with few KBs of memory, for the other you need at least 64MB and 256MB respectively. Memory/CPU = power consumption. Mudita chose the first level (microcontroller) and created their custom OS based on FreeRTOS, very minimal approach. Such system is extremely low-power low-performance and there is no way to have 3rd party apps. You would need at least Linux based system (eg. KaiOS based on FirefoxOS), but those app ecosystems are very limited, so most of apps you use will be missing there. Or you can target smartphones with Android + e-Ink display. There are more choices in the market. None of that is similar to Mudita, it is a different HW level and type of device.

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Thanks for providing a good breakdown of one segment of the type! I don’t believe that there’s one single reason for these requests, but the sheer quantity of them is interesting to me. What societal, systemic problem to they point to? Why would Spotify be a distraction for one person, but not for another? Etc.

And yep, I used to be there too. My first smartphone was pre-iPhone, and the software was terrible. Like the old Sidekick of the early 2000s, it was a gimmicky device more than anything to me (though it was a very valuable tool for my deaf friend that owned it), and I think smartphones stayed firmly in that “gimmick” territory for me even through the 6+ years I used them. I went cold turkey after my Google Nexus broke, and didn’t look back. Unfortunately I was forced into using one when I moved countries, and cannot wait to get back to the dumbphone life. It really is freeing not having to pay so much mind to mindfulness!

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Maps and GPS are a must in the United States

For some people, sure. But just how often do most people need to go someplace unfamiliar on a dime? I’d bet it’s much less often than we’d like to think. I was worried about this too when I quit my smartphone, but my worries were unfounded. Directions are easy to write on a post-it note to stick on the dashboard, and on the very rare occasion I got lost, I’d pull over and call somebody who had access to a computer. I even did short road trips to unfamiliar places this way, driving alone. There’s also an art to asking for directions, which I think is verboten now for some reason.

Things are only necessary when we make them necessary by destroying the infrastructure that was in place to maintain the previous technology. It’s not gone, it just needs to be relearned. Keep in mind that humans got along pretty well without GPS for a few million years.

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Precisely. There’s people who get on in life perfectly fine without a phone, like myself. And yet, I’m an IT guy…

Get yourself a quality pen and paper and start writing things down or doodling. It will expand your mind. :slight_smile:

To add all these “easy” features, it would take an entire new team for software development. GPS is not so simple either, as you’d potentially need to develop a new antenna with requisite hardware. Mudita is doing this from ground up, not using commodity hardware. I wrote a more extensive post about this somewhere, look it up if you’re interested.

Perhaps that is just a symptom to be resolved in a manner other than having a quick hormone release via smartphone.

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So, I think if you’re moving from a smartphone it’s a big adjustment so some of these services may be crutches. Afraid to be fully without. I love everything that Mudita offers in their phone. I do wish Signal could have made the jump as I know a lot of people prefer the security over SMS. I have an MP3 player and a Walkman so I don’t use streaming services, but a lot of people live off those so I understand the fear of being without. For GPS? Use a tablet with a data only plan in your car for Maps or get a Garmin or TomTom. I don’t even mind it not having a camera. Hope it has easy to use symbols and predictive text and good audio for calls.