Google's printable Paper Phone aims to provide the smartphone experience without the smartphone
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Most people depend on their smartphones for more than phone calls and text messaging. Many rely on their phones for navigation, payments, entertainment, and more. As such, it becomes more difficult to fully unplug every day. However, Google is hoping to alleviate some of the reliance on our pocket computers with Paper Phone, a printed sheet of paper that hopes to do everything your phone can… mostly.
The concept behind Paper Phone is simple. The app lets users select certain “features” to print out on a sheet of paper that will replace their phones for a day. Users can select things like a map with a specific route or area on it, a list of tasks, a calendar with appointments, a handful of contact details, a recipe, a brief list of foreign phrases, or even a guide to tying knots. All of these will then print on a single sheet of paper than can be folded into the user’s pocket.
Of course, a Paper Phone is highly limited compared to a smartphone. For one, a Paper Phone (obviously) cannot make calls or send messages of any kind. But the concept is admirable and serves as a convenient way to carry a hard copy of the information you may need without the work of regularly updating a notebook.
Paper Phone is part of Google’s recent Digital Wellbeing experiments, which are an initiative to reduce reliance on and addiction to smartphones and electronic devices. The experiments are admirable in their ambition but limited in their utility. Most of them have already been implemented by other apps with limited success. The key problem is that the apps only aim to change how a person uses their smartphone rather than disconnect them from the device. The Digital Wellbeing experiments may only serve to reroute the habits of smartphone addiction rather than tackle their root problems.
What do you think of Paper Phone? Could you go an entire day with naught but a sheet of paper in your pocket? Do you already do something similar to disconnect? Let us know in the comments.