back to article Punkt: A minimalist Android for the paranoid

Readers cry out for more diversity in the phone world, but few alternatives are as striking as Punkt's take on Android. Petter Neby, founder and CEO of the Swiss design-led company, told The Register Punkt's second device is coming to market this year with an unusual USP – security hardening by BlackBerry. Just don't call it …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    Calls and Email

    If it can do calls and Email ( preferably integration with an Exchange server), then I want one.

    12 days of autonomy, yes please.

    Also, will it phone home to Google or not ?

    Edit. Just had a quick look at their site, it does do email :-)

    https://www.punkt.ch/en/products/mp02-4g-mobile-phone/

    I'm gonna get me one, it's got all that I need for work phone...

  2. Julian Bradfield

    Re: Calls and Email

    Read more carefully. It doesn't do email, it just provides connectivity to your email-reading device. (How I used to do email in about 2002, and still prefer to.)

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    "If anyone wants to talk to me, they can give me a call. Other forms of communication, for example email or social media, are available when I choose to use them – and via a linked device that allows me to use them more effectively.”"

    I must admit that I might not have fully understood what they mean by "via a linked device".. If it can talk to a 3rd party device to ask for email then why not do it directly to a mail server ??

  4. Julian Bradfield

    Re: Calls and Email

    Do you never use your phone to tether your actual work device? It's talking about tethering, nothing more.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Ledswinger Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    Read more carefully. It doesn't do email

    IMHO that's a careless, probably fatal omission, for business use. I follow the logic that you could use a separate device, but when you're on the hoof and only have your phone that's a fat lot of good.

    On the sort of enterprise policy restricted mobile devices I've come across, the camera and storage are made inaccessible, written policy forbids installing unapproved apps, and all the device is for is voice, text, email. With much improved battery life, and better security Punkt should have been on to a winner that cleaned up in the corporate space (although that side view that looks like a 1980s desk calculator seems like a dubious choice).

    Good luck to anybody hoping to get directors and senior managers to accept this. It'll start well when you pick on senior managers who lack influence and have to take what they are given, as soon as you try and get any director or influential senior manager they'll simply say "no, not touching that it doesn't meet business needs". And it'll be even worse if these get handed out, people go "OK.....errr HOLD ON! Where's my f***ing email?" and then the IT team have to take them back in.

    So near, and yet so far. They must surely have agonised over the email in-or-out decision, and then they went all purist, decided to leave it out, and created a product with a very restricted market.

  7. AMBxx Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: Calls and Email

    Yep. I could cope with not being able to send email. Just reading would be enough. If I need to reply, I can use a tablet or something with a proper keyboard. I find it much easier to concentrate on what I'm writing if I can touch type.

  8. imanidiot Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    Email on a 320x240 pixel display? Not really going to work all that well. Especially with today's tendency towards rich text emails with dozens of corporate logos embedded.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Calls and Email

    "Email on a 320x240 pixel display? Not really going to work all that well. Especially with today's tendency towards rich text emails with dozens of corporate logos embedded."

    Hey all you marketing muppets: knock that crap off! That may look 'pretty' when you open it in the office, but it's really annoying to the rest of us. I don't care about your latest corporate branding, I'm already doing business with you.

  10. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    "Do you never use your phone to tether your actual work device?"

    Not me. I never allow my personal devices to interact with my employer's systems, or vice versa, for security reasons.

  11. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    "Especially with today's tendency towards rich text emails with dozens of corporate logos embedded."

    Just turn off the ability to render images inline, the ability to interpret HTML, the ability to run Javascript, and the ability to directly follow links in emails. Doing all that dramatically improves emails and security.

  12. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    "Doing all that dramatically improves emails and security."

    AND makes it practically useless. And before you say to tell your correspondents to just sent plain text, try doing that to someone over your head. And before you say to find another job, one may not be forthcoming, and those that are will likely have the same problems: jumping from one sinking ship to another, IOW.

  13. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    "Not me. I never allow my personal devices to interact with my employer's systems, or vice versa, for security reasons."

    Not even as just a dumb tether, with VPN thrown in for good measure? How do you use your work device abroad otherwise?

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    "MHO that's a careless, probably fatal omission, for business use."

    Or a deliberate choice for the paranoid. For avoidance of doubt, paranoia is a base requirement for security.

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    I don't care about your latest corporate branding, I'm already going off the idea of doing business with you.

    FTFY

  16. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    "And before you say to tell your correspondents to just sent plain text, try doing that to someone over your head."

    One of the joys of being retired is that there's nobody in that position. I have, in the past had the pleasure of pointing it out to some numpty from the Co-op that his email which consisted entirely of an image of text that it failed some of his employer's core values because it would be useless to a blind person who required a screen reader. I've also stood up in a shareholders' meeting to complain about bad email practice.

  17. Alfie Noakes

    Re: Calls and Email

    @Doctor Syntax

    ...and another advantage of plain text in e-mails is that it is in YOUR e-mail, in YOUR mailbox/on YOUR computer.

    (Linked) Images have an irritating habit of expiring, or worse still, changing, so you lose any hope of an audit trail!

  18. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    "AND makes it practically useless"

    Not at all. I've been doing it for years, and email remains the most useful communications tool I have access to.

    "before you say to tell your correspondents to just sent plain text"

    I would never tell them to do that. It doesn't matter if they send HTML emails -- I just read the unrendered HTML source. Yes, it's more tedious, but it's not that tedious.

  19. Kernel Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    Not even as just a dumb tether, with VPN thrown in for good measure? How do you use your work device abroad otherwise?"

    Well, if JohnFen is anything like me when it comes to separating work and personal connectivity, and I suspect he is, work devices connect via work provided cellphones, not via my own kit, VPN or not.

  20. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    "Not even as just a dumb tether, with VPN thrown in for good measure?"

    Nope.

    "How do you use your work device abroad otherwise?"

    It's up to my employer to provide all the equipment and services that I need to do my job. If I need a mobile device to provide tethering, that's fine, but it will be a device provided by my employer.

    I've adopted this policy from hard experience -- it makes things safer for both myself and my employer, facilitates accountability, and minimizes the possibility of misunderstandings about what I've used my employer's equipment and systems for.

  21. The Oncoming Scorn
    Pint

    Re: Calls and Email

    Work phone gets tethered to work devices to test VPN & download software updates that get blocked\won't download via our company network (Relating to laptops connecting to great big combine harvesters & construction equipment If you really want to know).

    Personal cellphone gets tethered to a personally owned laptop that I keep at work for (Most) things that I don't want being on the company network.

    Not that I get much time to surf in the role, as there's very rarely a dull moment.

  22. russmichaels

    Re: Calls and Email

    It means you link your tablet to this phone and use it as a wireless access point, and do all the other stuff on your tablet.

    I really wanted somehting this simple to give to my kids, without all the social media crap and security issues. Albeit cheaper and with GPS tracking.

  23. russmichaels

    Re: Calls and Email

    I think most people who use their devices for business would rather have a phone that lasts for days instead of hours and will carry a tablet or laptop for the other stuff.

  24. therealmav

    Re: Calls and Email

    I really wanted somehting this simple to give to my kids, without all the social media crap and security issues. Albeit cheaper and with GPS tracking.

    Here you are kids, I’ve just bought you a new phone. Welcome to 1997

  25. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    Yeah, your kids won't thank you for that. Having to hide it from all the other kids...

  26. Thoguht Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    Back when I was working, some marketing bonehead sent round a mail with the latest corporate communication standards, one of which was not to embed images in emails. The mail of course had all sorts of marketing images embedded in it.

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    @charles 9

    Most email CLIENTS send plain text as well as the embroidered crap. Most of the actual content is in the plain text anyway.

    The exception to this is automated responders by big companies (ebay/amazon/paypal etc) who often send empty 'text/plain' sections. Which is user hostile.

    But personal emails even from a high up mangler, will usually have usable content in the text/plain area

  29. panoptiq

    Re: Calls and Email

    I have a cheaper solution - buy a discontinued BlackBerry device. My Z30 from five years back is still the most secure phone I've ever owned + it does email, BBM, maps etc. And it does not have ANY infections from google.

  30. ghurley

    Re: Calls and Email

    "Also, will it phone home to Google or not ?"

    If you pair it with a wireless plan without data, then you're set. Too bad SMS isn't very secure

  31. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    @Julian Bradfield: "How I used to do email in about 2002"

    Ha, me too, but it required a data cable plugged into the bottom of my old Nokia, and a Psion CF modem stuck into the top of a Compaq Ipaq : -) The I got a Nokia 7110 with IrDA but it was a bugger to keep aligned with the Ipaq on the train.

  32. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Re: Calls and Email

    @imanidiot: "corporate logos"

    It gets worse than that, I've worked places where the PR luvvies demanded that all internal documents used a custom font, because you know, it's really important to have custom shaped letters, or something.

  33. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "... my employer's systems, or vice versa, for security reasons."

    Their security or yours?

  34. Radio Wales
    Happy

    Re: Calls and Email

    >>Yeah, your kids won't thank you for that. Having to hide it from all the other kids... <<

    Well, that means they won't be doing stupid stuff on it to impress their mates. They won't be using them at all in fact. Unless it is important. Plus there would be a low risk of it being stolen.

    Which is why you gave it to them in the first place - Right?

  35. frank ly Silver badge

    Justified

    "... when you hold it in your hand it feels like a phone that costs $350,"

    Is that a justification for what it can/can't do or a justification for the price?

  36. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: Justified

    A third of the price of new iPhone?

  37. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

    Re: Justified

    In other words, it feels like $300 of profit margin and if you hold it to your ear, you can just about hear the Punkt management laughing all the way to the bank.

  38. DougS Silver badge
    Trollface

    Its in the name

    There was an MTV series starring Ashton Kutcher of the same name

  39. panoptiq

    Re: Justified

    Truly a shame that BlackBerry devices went under. They are STILL the most secure in the game. If the industry truly gave a d*mn about security, then BlackBerry would be thriving right now. :( :( :(

  40. herman Silver badge

    Re: Justified

    Eh? The Blackberry who handed their servers and keys to various Arab governments and India? That one? They deserved to go under. All my Arab friends dumped their BB phones the day that became known.

  41. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Re: Justified

    Did they dump the rest of their phones? Because last I checked, those countries in question made an ultimatum: their citizens' data in their country or no sales ever again. And since they're sovereign and hold the keys, that put them in a Hobson's Choice (Take It Or Leave It), and if they left it, odds are someone else would've stepped in and bent over, putting everyone in the same leaky boat.

  42. Wellyboot Silver badge
    Holmes

    "It's difficult for us to work with Google on their terms,"

    Only if you're trying to keep your personal information away from Google.

    Details on how the AOSP underpinnings have been customised to prevent slurp are needed.

  43. JacobZ

    Crazy old man

    I may be just a crazy old man, but I want one. I still miss my Samsung T509, which was the last phone I had that felt comfortable in my hand or my pocket.

  44. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: Crazy old man

    I second that. I like that phone, and I decide that is the kind of phone I want when I retire and can finally ditch the shitty "smartphone" stuff.

  45. James 51 Silver badge

    There is a 4G version of the Gemini, quite nice it is too. The Agenda app is better than Google's calendar, looking forward to the data app. Fingers crossed they release an email reading client too.

  46. big_D Silver badge

    I like the look of the Gemini and I used to have a Series 3a and a Series 5.

    But these days, I probably have 2 appointments in my calendar in a month, so the actual type of app that provides the information is fairly irrelevant. I currently use Outlook for Android with a calendar widget on the home screen, which generally shows a nice hot air balloon with "you have no entries for the next 7 days".

  47. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Do you have a Gemini - if so what's it like?

    Any thoughts on the Gemini now its been out for a bit? Like how well its holding up and whether it is a useful day to day device.

    Thanks.

  48. steelpillow Silver badge

    Re: Do you have a Gemini - if so what's it like?

    Getting more and more into mine. It's a perfectly good Android* 4G/LTE smartphone, once you get into the habit of flipping it open and sometimes having to hold it up like an open book to do portrait-mode stuff. Once you start a call you can close it up again and look normal, you can also answer calls with it closed. Bit like those flip-up clip-on sunglasses, very practical once you get past the novelty factor. Dropbox plus WPS Office turn it into a productive netbook, with a small keyboard you will either love or hate. Some use it like a laptop, some two-thumbed like a smartphone (awkward for small hands, but if that's you then you can hold it like a book when on the move and bring up the standard Android soft keyboard, save the physical one for the table top), some hold in one hand and type with the other - I often do for quick messages or adding a stumbled-on contact. Integrated productivity apps echo the old Psions and get variable responses. Maybe Planet Computers should have called it the YMMV. I love it.

    * The one to watch is the new Sailfish OS build, due out soon. You can dual-boot or just dump Android.

  49. Waseem Alkurdi

    Re: Do you have a Gemini - if so what's it like?

    Great write-up!

    I've recently seen an (original) Psion Series 5mx (as old as I am), and I liked the form factor, so I'm considering a Gemini.

    But on the other hand, there's the equally awesome, but more "computery" GPD Pocket and its copycat One Netbook Yoga. It lacks the coolness of the Psion form factor, but is a "real" computer.

    So which one would you recommend?

  50. tcmonkey

    Re: Do you have a Gemini - if so what's it like?

    Can't speak for anyone else, but I got the GPD as the Gemini wasn't available at the time. I now find it utterly indispensable. The ability to run practically any software I so choose is a huge deal for me, but your needs may vary.

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018