Smartphones are designed to be addicting, and companies like Google and Apple are helping users to beat this addiction by providing various insights into their usage.
But Google has launched a new product that is unlike anything that is on the market.
This Google envelope seals up your phone and limits your usage by only making the keypad accessible, which means no more browsing, no more watching videos. The only thing that your phone would be capable of would be making phone calls. Right now, users can print the PDF of the Envelope and follow the instructions on how to assemble it themselves. Additionally, you will have to download the app called Envelope, so that it can map the buttons on the screen exactly where it is marked on the paper.
This product limits the functionalities of your current smartphone and physically restrict’s users’ excessive usage. However, if you dont want to use it anymore, you can simply tear the Envelope off.
Currently, the only supported phone model is the Pixel 3A. Google has shown off two versions of the Envelope, one for making phone calls, and another for taking photos. Both these concepts feature minimalist settings for the user to interact with. Such as for the camera, there are only two buttons, one labeled as a photo, another labeled as a video. There are no settings to change flash, zoom in/out, filters, etc. However, each Envelope cover is only capable of one function, so if you were intending on switching back and forth, then it’s better just to leave it off.
The idea of Envelopes is unusual in that it is a physical form of the digital wellbeing initiative by Google. If successful, Google could probably release PDFs for other models, including Pixel 4, or even for other Android smartphones such as Galaxy S20.
Now Apple has implemented something in the way of screen-time. However, having a physical implementation does make it a lot less tempting to by-pass the restrictions. And with Google’s Envelope being sealed shut, it will prevent a lot of people from breaking.