Smartphones are useful tools, but they can also be addictive as people may start checking the phone each time they receive a notification, visit their Facebook page to check how many likes they got, or just want to check their emails a bit too frequently.
Google has been working on addressing the issue with the Digital Wellbeing app launched as part of Android 9 aims to help you take some time away from your phone. The company has now launched a new Digital Wellbeing experiment with Google Envelope. Those are actual paper envelopes housing your phone in order to convert it either in a phone that can only make or receive phone calls, or camera with only the ability to take photos or shot videos.
There’s also an accompanying app that will detect the taps on the button. You’ll need to start the app first, then slide your phone into the paper envelope and seal it up.
The “Phone” Envelop then transform your phone into a simple phone with numerical keys and speed dial buttons. It offers an alternative to people purchasing a cheap phone to wean themselves to their addiction. The “Camera” Envelop only offers two buttons: one for taking photos and the other for shooting videos.
Those are separate envelopes so you must decide whether you’d rather make/receive phone calls, or take photos.
Google Pixel 3a is the only supported phone right now, and it may not work well on other phones since the alignment of the buttons may not be perfect. But the source code is available on Github so it could always be adapted to other phones.
You may find additional details on the project’s page.
Google also released two other apps to help you reduce your phone usage, or at least raise awareness of just how long you spend time on your mobile device:
Both apps replace your wallpaper.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.