Pando

A dumbphone for 2016

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on June 22, 2016

From The Disruption Desk

The vast majority of Pando readers will gain less than nothing from this post.

From this entire series of posts, in fact: Following my continuing quest to find the perfect cellphone.

Those following along from the start will recall that some time last year I decided to abandon my smart phone in order to help wean myself off Twitter, and in particular Twitter fights. In the process of doing so, I stumbled across the dumbest of dumb phones: The M5. The device costs around $20 (not a typo) from Amazon, with a footprint (pocketprint?) around the same as a credit card.

Then, a few months later, having successfully rid myself of my Twitter addiction, I felt able to risk acquiring the new Blackberry “Priv,” which sounds less like a piece of technology and more like a British playground insult. Still, as I wrote here, the device was the ultimate Blackberry-Android hybrid and, as such, seemed destined to usher the Blackberry brand into oblivion with a bang.

And now I’ve come full circle. The Priv is just as delightful as when I first acquired it and – no – I haven’t relapsed on to Twitter. But Twitter is not the only distraction, and I find myself constantly checking my phone for emails, Facebook messages and all manner of other alerts and communications.

I’m writing this from 30-something-thousand feet, on my way to Palm Springs for a few days of disconnection and recuperation following Pandoland (and a year of Pando’s membership model, during which I’ve written several hundred posts, several dozen of which I am very proud of.) I’ll still be filing a story every day during my break, but after each day’s issue has been published, I plan to remain as unconnected to the outside world as possible.

Which brings me to my latest, and possibly greatest, cellular discovery: The Swiss-designed “Punkt.” Other, more skilled, gadget reviewers have profiled the device here and here, but in short, the Punkt is what would happen if a designer set out to create a barebones 2g dumbphone in 2016. Largely because that’s exactly how the device came about.

The Punkt has precisely two functions: Calls and texting. Three if you count the alarm clock. It has Bluetooth connectivity for handsfree operation and it has the battery life of a nuclear submarine. When you first start it up it makes a curious pigeony bird sound.

It is, quite simply, exactly the phone I’ve been looking for. 2016 design (gorilla glass included) meets 1996 simplicity. If over the next few days you should have reason to call, you’ll hopefully be delighted by the call quality. Assuming the forecasted 120 degree temperature doesn’t melt the handset to my lips. If, on the other hand, you should decide to email or direct message me, you can expect a response some time after Friday.

This is how life used to be. Thanks to the Punkt it can be again.