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Why it matters: Smartphones are either the greatest things since sliced bread, or the worst. Minimal, a company pitching a distraction-free phone, seems to think they've ruined society and want to help users take back their lives.
The Minimal Phone is said to be designed for those seeking efficiency and simplicity. It features a full QWERTY physical keyboard and an E-Ink display that reportedly reduces eye strain and promotes healthy sleep. Think of a modern, low-end BlackBerry and you'll be on the right track.
The device packs a 4,000 mAh battery that can last for up to four days on a single charge. With fast charging, you can top off the device from empty in just one hour or get an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes. It runs a custom operating system, but it's unclear if it is based on Android or another platform.
Aside from a couple of device renders, a Black Mirror-style trailer, and a landing page with the option to join a waiting list, there's nothing else to go on. Perhaps even more concerning than the lack of details is the seemingly uncertain nature of the brand itself.
Between the trailer and the landing page, I counted no fewer than five different spelling variants of the brand name including Minimal, Mnml, Miniimal, Minml, and Miniml. Perhaps it boils down to a language barrier or low effort marketing, but something is telling me to proceed with caution.
Minimalist / companion phones aren't a new idea. Devices like The Light Phone, the Palm Phone, and the Nokia 150 have all attempted to water down the modern smartphone experience by stripping out features and even Internet connectivity.
The truth of the matter is that you don't need to go out and buy a featureless device to reduce mobile screen time. Modern smartphones have all the controls you need to lessen or even fully disable alerts and notifications from apps and services. If at any time you are feeling overwhelmed, just enable Do Not Disturb or simply put down your phone and go do something else.