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Is this phone smarter than your smartphone?

A new low-tech mobile phone designed by Jasper Morrison for Punkt. is the antithesis to the smartphone. Could it also be the answer to building better human relationships?



BY Andrew McDonald

January 1st, 2016


In today’s tech-saturated world, there’s no question that switching off every now and then is an attractive option for a lot of us. As a result, digital detox tourism is booming. Petter Neby, the Norwegian founder of Swiss electronics brand Punkt., has a slightly more extreme solution: MP 01. The intentionally low-tech phone – designed by renowned British designer Jasper Morrison – is the antithesis to the smartphone, offering users only the most basic functions: call, text and reminders.

Although, Neby doesn’t expect users to completely abandon their smartphones. “MP 01 is a second device. When I finish work, I would switch off my smartphone, like my computer, and use MP 01 for calls and messages.” The idea, he says, is to connect with people face-to-face in real life, without the distraction of social media, games and other apps.

It seems like a good idea, in theory, but the question remains – just how eager are we to switch off in practice? While Neby admits that some people will take time to come to terms with the idea, and it might not be for everyone, he has faith that there is a market. The idea, he says, came to him when he launched Punkt’s inaugural product in 2011 – a cordless phone called DP 01. “So many young people asked why we didn’t make a very simple mobile phone,” he says. “The younger generations who have grown up with smartphones have this idea that things can be different.”

Read the full story in Issue 63 of Indesign, on sale December 23.

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