Smartphone companies spend all their marketing budgets trying to make us buy their products, so it is always a little jarring when a company comes up with a way to help you use yours less (via Android Police). Google has added to its digital wellbeing catalogue of experiments with Envelope – an app that turns your phone into a dumbphone, but then also asks you to put it inside an actual paper envelope.
Filed under the company’s ‘special projects’ banner, the below video shows the experimental ideas behind Envelope. Not only does the app make your phone a simple call or camera machine, it encourages you to keep it in the paper envelope, so you aren’t tempted to exit the simple mode and dive back into that Reddit thread:
Apparently, this isn’t a joke. The video looks a little tongue in cheek to us, but if legit, this is another experiment likely designed more to make you think about how much we use our phones and is not necessarily expecting you to download a PDF net of an envelope. Even though you can.
Google already ships a digital wellbeing app in its Pixel phones, and it is an option for any manufacturer shipping a phone with Android Pie or Android 10. If you’re into using your phone less we’d probably start there.