BoringPhone – Get out of your phone and into your life
A minimalist smartphone with all the useful stuff, none of the distractions
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The only smartphone that wants less of your time
The BoringPhone is a minimalist smartphone with all the useful things, but none of the distracting stuff.
The BoringPhone trims away the distractions leaving just the useful tools.
Bridging the gap between “not enough” and “too much”, the BoringPhone is the perfect balance.
Why is this a thing?
The BoringPhone is for people who want to spend less time on their phone, and more time doing the things that matter to them.
Smartphones are great, but by design they draw us into spending more and more time on them.
Because smartphones are engineered to capture our attention, it’s often not enough to simply say “I’m going to use my smartphone less.” To shift an unconscious habit we need to take conscious steps that change our behaviour.
Deciding to use the BoringPhone is a deliberate choice to limit the amount of time you spend on your phone. When your phone is boring, there’s simply nothing mindless to do on it and so your time becomes available for other things.
What are the benefits?
It’s pretty common for us to spend ten, twenty or even thirty hours per week on general unfocused smartphone use. That time can be freed up and redirected towards whatever it is you choose – reading actual books, getting out and exercising, learning something new, starting a side hustle – it’s all there if you have the time.
Every time you stop a task to check your phone for notifications, you lose focus on what you are doing. The BoringPhone doesn’t have social media or email, which reduces notifications. You’ll still be available for calls or important messages from friends and family, but you won’t be interrupted because a picture of an egg is trending.
We’ve all been guilty of it: Half listening to someone while waiting for them to finish so we can check our phone, or simply looking at our phone while we’re talking to people. It’s not the end of the world, but it is good to be really present with our friends, family and partners. Removing the smartphone can remove barriers and allow the space to truly connect with the people that matter to us.
Privacy And Cost Saving
Smartphones these days are set up to suck up as much data as possible. Multiple apps track not just their own usage, but our location and other data they can access. The BoringPhone slows this deluge down to a trickle. Less data also means less cost.
Would this be good for kids?
Yes! One of the reasons for creating the BoringPhone was for it to be a “first” phone for children. There are a number of advantages to the BoringPhone:
- It looks like any other sleek, high quality smartphone.
- It has NO internet browser, social media, mobile games or application store.
- It does have data messaging, voice and video calling.
- It is a high quality handset, that will last several years (if looked after!)
- The background can be changed to remove the BoringPhone logo!
The BoringPhone is an option when you want to be able to contact your child when they are away from home, but don’t yet want to provide everything that regular smartphones have.
What has it got on it?
Signal is an open source messaging app created Signal Messenger LLC. Usage of the Signal app is subject to their terms and conditions, available here: https://signal.org/legal/ . BoringPhone is not affiliated with Signal. We just really like their software.
What are the specs?
he BoringPhone is focused on functionality and so we’re using a simple, but high quality base phone: The Xiaomi Mi A1 32GB. The main specifications are:
How will people use it?
How you use the BoringPhone is entirely up to you. Based on feedback so far, here are some ideas for how people might incorporate the BoringPhone into their lives:
She has a BoringPhone and an iPhone. She keeps her SIM card in the BoringPhone and has it when she is out of the house, at work or socializing. At home, her iPhone is connected to WiFi, so she can stay up to date with social media and the online world – in deliberate conscious sessions.
They like it because it looks the same as everyone else‘s phone. Their parents like it because it doesn’t have an internet browser or any social media apps. The ‘Signal’ messaging app allows the family to stay in contact with data messages, voice and video calling.
During the week, he needs to keep his work phone close by for emails. But the weekend is his time. He transfers over his SIM to his BoringPhone and the emails and stress of work are left behind. On his BoringPhone he can still be contacted if something catches fire. On odd occasions, he uses data tethering to connect his laptop to the internet.
The parents want their children to have a chance to know themselves before they take on the digital world. The kids have BoringPhones but so do the parents – it’s sometimes best to lead by example! They have a computer or tablet in the family space for going online as needed.
When they feel their phone use getting out of hand, they charge up their BoringPhone and use it for a detox period. This gives them a way to break the pattern of overuse. They can then take this calmer usage pattern back to their regular phone.
He has forgone all social media accounts and does not wish to be blasted by the full noise of the online world. The BoringPhone is his selective connection. He can arrange to meet friends by calling or messaging, find the meetup point using the map system, maybe even listen to a podcast on the way there.
How does it work?
Video of full boot, upgrade and factory reset available here
The BoringPhone is the BoringPhone Operating System (OS) installed and running on a generic Android handset – plus a carefully selected set of open source applications.
The BoringPhoneOS is a modified version of the open source LineageOS. The reason this project is for a physical handset and an installed operating system together, is because changing the OS on an Android phone is quite technical. Our goal is to make the BoringPhone a simple and straightforward option for everyone.
Who are you?
BoringPhone is a small NZ startup with a focus on improving our relationship with technology. It was founded by childhood friends, Alex Davidson and Jasper Mackenzie. Alex had struggled with his own smartphone usage and was looking for something to bridge the gap between old dumb phones and smartphones. Jasper had already created various limited phone options for his children, and was ready to develop those ideas into the BoringPhone prototype.
The difference in quality of life using the BoringPhone was so profound that they believed other people might also benefit from this type of phone.