The Punkt. MP 01 Mobile Phone

A stripped-down device with just the essentials

In 2015, the idea of not having immediate access to the internet, games and social media apps on your phone has gone from inspiring terror and fear of missing out to sounding increasingly appealing. The ability to disconnect and not constantly check Facebook statuses and work emails has become something to aspire to, as more and more designers create technology to help us move away from technology. This seemingly paradoxical pursuit has led to some really interesting products that feel brand-new in that they dare to suggest scaling back on the constant stream of information.

Software entrepreneur Petter Neby founded technology design company Punkt. in 2008 with that idea in mind: to be more conscious of what we do with our lives, and make sure that the user is in charge of the technology, rather than the other way around. It’s resulted in rethinking objects like the alarm clock and multiport chargers; now the Switzerland company turns its sights to mobile phones, revealing their MP 01 model at this year’s London Design Festival.

Similar to the Kickstarted Light Phone we covered earlier this year, the MP01 focuses on providing the bare-bone necessities of a modern phone. Designed by Punkt.’s art director, revered British industrial designer Jasper Morrison, it features just calling, text messaging, contacts, an alarm clock and a calendar. It’s the essentials, and nothing more.

Design and user experience are the focus for the new phone, which features a 2” LCD display (with a durable Gorilla Glass screen), high-quality audio with noise-cancellation, and long-lasting battery life (an impressive four weeks in stand-by mode, 290 minutes talk time). “I make everything for myself,” Neby says. “When you do this kind of work, in a very busy world, it has to come from a specific need, rather than a commercial drive.”

Rather than viewing it as an alternative to his smartphone, Neby says he sees the MP 01 working in relationship to his handheld computer. “The way I use it now is that I forward the number from my smartphone so even if I turn that off, the calls go to the MP 01. Fewer people call these days but when I want to switch off, like at the weekend or after six, I can still receive the really urgent calls,” says Neby.

“Everyone will have their own way of using a product like this,” he says. “Now that we work from home, when we travel, and on vacation, the MP 01 is another tool to help people create clearer limits between when you work and when you don’t. You’re available for emergency calls, but you’re not going to read your emails.”

The MP 01 also features a set of custom‐made ringtones by the Norwegian sound artist Kjetil Røst Nilsen, many of which feature bird songs to help users really switch off. It uses GSM rather than 3G or 4G, which Neby says means reception is better, making sure that when necessary, you can definitely still be reached—but you’ll be able to detox from your Fruit Ninja addiction and tell the office you actually won’t be checking those emails. As our smartphones become more and more ubiquitous, it’s a concept that sounds increasingly attractive.

The MP 01 will be available this September 2015 for $295 from Punkt.

Images courtesy of Punkt.