In October, Google debuted experimental apps focused on digital well-being. Including one that offered a notification mailbox, another that tracked how long you went between phone unlocks and even one that let you print the information you needed from your phone for the day so you wouldn’t have to use your phone, to name a few. Now, Google has added three more apps to its unique collection with the launch of a Screen Stopwatch for tracking screen time, another that lets you visualize your phone usage as bubbles and a third that lets you put your phone in an envelope… wait, what?
Envelope is not a joke. As it turns out, but rather the latest bit of creativity from London-based design studio Special Projects. The group had already created the phone info printout app, Paper Phone, which arrived when Google’s Digital Well being Experiments platform first launched last year.
If you want to try Google’s envelope technique out for yourself, it only works with a Pixel 3A right now — and we can’t think of a reason that’s the case. If you do have a Pixel 3A, though, download the required Play Store app for the envelope, called Envelope, then print out the PDF for the envelope, cut out the template, and follow the instructions to construct it.
Then, when you’re ready for a break from your phone, open up the Envelope app, slide your Pixel 3A into the envelope, and seal the envelope shut — the PDF recommends using glue. Once your phone is sealed in the envelope, you’ll only be able to dial phone numbers on the phone, use speed dial, or have the phone tell you the time by flashing the numbers on the number pad.
Many people feel that they spend too much time on their phones and struggle to find a balance with technology. Google Envelope have designed a series of special paper envelopes which completely transform the functionality of your smartphone for the time it is sealed inside, allowing you to enjoy fewer distractions for a little while. One envelope turns your phone into a very basic device which can only make and receive calls, while the other turns your phone into a photo and video camera with no screen, helping you to focus on what’s in front of you. Printed buttons which subtly light up allow you to dial and take photographs, creating a calm but magical “Envelope User Interface”.
There are two types of envelope. –one for call and another one for the camera only. Which will “temporarily transform your phone into a simpler, calmer device,” according to Special Projects. “Many people feel that they spend too much time on their phones and struggle to find a balance with technology. Printed buttons with subtly light up allow you to dial and take photographs.”