Every iterative improvement of the smartphone has added to an undeniable reality: mobile devices are generally all the same in form and function. Of course, the capabilities and quality of features do differ to a degree, but compared to the earliest years of iPhone and Android most phones today are all rather capable devices. So how does a smartphone distinguish itself from the crowd beyond minor hardware tweaks and incremental annual spec updates? According to PUNKT, it is not by addition, but by subtraction.
Mobile manufacturer PUNKT has always operated with an independent punk spirit, developing devices guided by the ethos of protecting focus, stillness, and restructuring the framework in which we interact with technology. This has manifested in devices such as the Jasper Morrison designed PUNKT MP02, a minimalist phone retaining the connections while removing the distractions. Essentially, PUNKT filters out many of the distractions associated with carrying a smart phone, right down to its monochromatic OS.
While the MP02’s smaller screen and large physical buttons are effective in filtering function to tactile 4G simplicity, the truth is most of us still want a mobile device with a larger screen. PUNKT’s new MC02 expands upon the simplicity, privacy with security, and quiet tech UI/UX of the MP02 to deliver an entire ecosystem prioritizing what the brand defines as “personal digital sovereignty.”
Despite its monochromatic UI/UX intentionally toned down to deemphasize the draw of colorful app icons, the MC02’s screen itself is capable of 16 million colors at 24-bit depth, allowing users to review photos they’ve taken or watch videos just like any phones.
PUNKT claims “over 90% of smartphone apps track you across the internet,” a practice integral to Android+Google’s business model where that data is in turn sold to advertisers. Built upon the Apostrophy OS, the MC02 is built to prevent such perpetual personal data and behavior tracking, an operating system built upon the open-source version of Android that allows for support of Android apps without the inclusion of Google Mobile Services.
Apostrophy OS does this by sandboxing each application into partitioned segments. Users can still access a dedicated application store, utilize over-the-air software updates anywhere in the world, customize their on-device Virtual Private Network (VPN), while also accessing the necessities of a digital life, including Email, Calendar, Contacts, and other personal information all securely stored within Switzerland.
All of this personal privacy protection does come at a price. The MC02 operates using a subscription model, with the first 12 months of services free, and about $17 per month thereafter.
The $749 PUNKT MC02 is currently available for pre-orders, scheduled to ship January 2024, and includes a TMO/T-Mobile SIM card (but operates as an unlocked 5G device allowing support from other regional providers). More details at PUNKT.ch.