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Envelope delivers a digital detox

January 21, 2020.

Google Envelope.

Google Envelope.

Google Envelope. © Special Projects.

Sometimes, you have to unplug to get back to the basics, to focus on a task or simply to get back in touch with your surroundings. Unfortunately, we are all chained to our smartphones, which are so clever at monopolizing our attention, keeping us reachable night and day, and generally enslaving us. But there is hope: Google Creative Lab has devised an ingenious way for us to get a “digital detox”, designing a paper envelope that wraps around your telephone, allowing only its basic function to work (in case you didn’t know, it’s making and receiving calls). So 20th century! “The idea is to try and last as long as possible before opening the envelope and getting your old phone back”, says the designing team in the video below. Interested? For the moment, Envelope only works with the Pixel 3 A. You’ll need to download the app on Play Store (source code available on GitHub), then print out the PDF envelope and follow the instructions for assembly. Now, with some simple and minimalistic cutting and pasting, you can turn your smartphone into a dumbphone, and (re)discover the world around you.

YouTube, “Envelope - temporarily transform your phone into a simpler, calmer device.”

Experiments with Google, “Envelope.”

The Verge, Jay Peters, “Google designed an envelope you can use to hide your phone from yourself.”