Minimal phone gets back to basics with E Ink display and real keyboard
We've seen a number of handsets over the years that have been designed to cut down on over-stimulating distractions present on smartphones. The latest looks like a happy marriage between a Blackberry and e-reader, and goes by the name of Minimal.
Only very basic information has been shared on the startup's website so far, but founder and CEO of the Minimal Company Andre Youkhma recently took to Reddit to answer key queries.
The Minimal phone is going to be constructed using eco-friendly materials, though no specifics have been revealed as yet. It will boast a backlit monochrome E Ink display topped with a capacitive touchscreen, which will doubtless make it a per-charge warrior as well as being eye-friendly. In fact, the 4,000-mAh battery is reckoned good for four days of usage and there's support for rapid charging. Under this sits a full QWERTY keyboard for a "more satisfying and accurate typing experience."
It's being designed to run on an operating platform called the MnmlOS, which is based on "the latest version of Android" and should allow access to the Play Store for downloading third-party apps.
However, the point of the phone is to keep distractions to a minimum, so out of the box it will be able to call, text and email and will host a bunch of "select third-party apps essential for modern living, such as ride-sharing or navigation apps, without overwhelming the user." Things like calendar, notes and other productivity tools will be included too.
Entertainment will be kept simple as well, "focusing on relaxation and mindfulness." The handset will feature Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, with 5G currently being explored, and be able to play music from YouTube (though E Ink refresh rates likely won't make video watching anything but frustrating) and from local storage via a headphone jack. There's expected to be support for Android Auto too, and contactless payments are in the works. A camera is being cooked in as well, though we'll have to wait for details.
On the privacy front, the startup's founder states that user data will only be collected for phone functionality, not for advertising purposes. He also promises frequent security updates, with support for the phone promised for at least five years (which presumably will include OS upgrades).
As of writing, all we have to look at are rather nice renders. Youkhma has confirmed that the design has been finalized, that it will come in at 120 x 72 x 10 mm (4.7 x 2.8 x 0.39 in), and that an unnamed "leading manufacturer" is currently looking into creating molds and such.
Like many project's before it, the Minimal phone will be making a production bid on a crowdfunding platform that's due to kick off from early February. The expected retail price is currently pitched in the region of US$400, but discounts will be offered to tempt in early adopters.
For now, those interesting in learning more can sign up to the waitlist via the source link. The video below has more.
Source: The Minimal Company