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 …

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Re: Then, amid the oohs and aahs, the small boy said "but he has no clothes on!"

Just the Blackberry stuff and not looking cheap. If you think the asking price is too much for that, then you probably aren't in the target demographic*.

*And for that you can probably count yourself lucky.

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Re: Then, amid the oohs and aahs, the small boy said "but he has no clothes on!"

I read down the first comments incredulously trying to understand why no one was asking that. Who needs this amazing security when there's nowt to secure? Stick a PIN on a burner phone or search the back of the sofa for an old blackberry and surely you're up on what this offers?

Me, I'd buy one in a heartbeat if it did email, maps, photos, WhatsApp, tethering and, ah, well, I'd miss Facbook so I'd want that, and if I've got that I may as well whack Twitter on it. And it's businessy so I'll need LinkedIn. If only I could buy a phone with all that for £350.

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"Blackberry hardened"?

No, sorry, Blackberry burned all the trust I had a long time ago.

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Rather a sad battery

I wonder why they chose 1,280mAh when my el-cheapo Moto G6 Play has 4,000mAh and is still really thin?

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Re: Rather a sad battery

It already has two weeks of standby, what's the point of six weeks of standby?

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Re: Rather a sad battery

The point of six weeks of standby is the three times as long you could do other things, like using the tethering if you have an account that will actually permit tethering for long enough to run the battery down. The benefit would be that, with a massive profit margin already, it could be useful to the user without doing much to the company.

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It does have an odd choice of features since it does have GPS/GLONASS as well as accelerometer, gyro, and compass but apparently nothing to use them as I wouldn't call that screenshot a proper mapping app. Once it's tethered, does it send the data (NMEA?) to the device with the mapping software along the tether link or does that need a separate connection?

Either way given they're going for the minimalism vibe I'm surprised they didn't go with an e-paper display.

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Most likely the chips used included that functionality. Sort of like how some phones have FM reception capability but no way to access it, because there wasn't a separate SKU made without FM.

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Anonymous Coward

Dazed and confused...maybe because I'm seventy....

.....but a few quid for a ten year old "feature phone" (see phone repair shop on your local high street) and a fiver for a Lebara SIM and a few minutes.....all cash.....and you're all set....completely anonymous....a few phone calls.....then repeat as above as often as you like.

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My math says you can do this at least twenty times before you hit £350.

*

What am I missing here?

PS Just had a Sony Experia (Android) as an experiment with a "smartphone" for three months. HATED IT!!! Going back to recipe described above.

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Re: Dazed and confused...maybe because I'm seventy....

But doesn't the SIM card require an activation process of sorts, where they collect personal ID?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dazed and confused...maybe because I'm seventy....

@Waseem Alkurdi

You haven't done any of this, have you? No activation needed if you are using CASH! A Lebara SIM costs £1.....CASH. Five pounds worth of minutes costs...guess....five pounds in CASH. The minutes are identified by a voucher number which you key into the feature phone.

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All done, all CASH..............NO PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION. Got it?

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Re: Dazed and confused...maybe because I'm seventy....

I'm going to hazard a guess and say that Waseem and AC are from different countries...

Many countries require ID for PAYG.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dazed and confused...maybe because I'm seventy....

"Many countries require ID for PAYG."

Like in the US, most phones refuse to activate without a full-on registration process including presenting your full name and so on, and the stuff is double-checked before registration is complete, meaning attempting to fudge the name can get you in trouble with the FCC (who sets the requirements re: emergency communications, police actions, etc.). Most people in the US who use prepaid phones because have bad credit and can't qualify for postpaid plans with a bill.

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Anonymous Coward

it feels like a phone that costs $350

the idea might be smart, but this statement is as stupid as any other marketoid bullshit.

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Ffs

So like the environmentalist who owns and drives an electric car on the week days - but owns and drives a range rover V8 at the weekends.

Completely, utterly, pointless

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Re: Ffs

5/7ths is better than 0/7ths, ignoring the environmental cost of manufacturing both vehicles. It might also be pointed out that particulate pollution is worse on weekdays in urban places. Mayve the Overfinch Range Rover is only driven around our subject's country pad. Still a benefit over driving it in town.

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Re: Ffs

"but owns and drives a range rover V8 at the weekends"

Petrol or diesel?

Makes a difference ya know!

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Anonymous Coward

Price

The features available on this phone can be had in any cheap lg/lte/huawei FREE phone out there.

I paid $300 for my Galaxy S8+ used. I understand that Punkt a minimalist phone, but it should cost less than a year old maxed-out Samsung top of the line phone.

I "minimalist" phone ought to have a minimalist price.

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Anonymous Coward

Nah mate - *this* is the ultimate secure, classically designed phone

Sexy looking minimalist black phone, guaranteed to be secure? Has to be this one:

https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/phones-broadband-and-sat-nav/telephones/telephones/gpo-200-corded-phone-19665877-pdt.html

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Re: Nah mate - *this* is the ultimate secure, classically designed phone

With an analogue signal going on a copper wire to some exchange, via cabinets by the side of the road? Hmmm...

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Re: Nah mate - *this* is the ultimate secure, classically designed phone

Love it, I´ll have two, one for each pocket.

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Meh

No email or dual SIM

I think the omission of email and dual SIM excludes this phone from a lot of business use cases.

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£350 for a phone that does very little. That's way too much money. Alcatel did it for less than £15

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=Alcatel+OneTouch

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I don't think I could do texting with that keyboard. Hated those days.

Had a Nokia with a full qwerty physical keyboard, just so I didn't have to try to text with 0-9 keys.

Also, how often do we actually dial an actual number by tapping it in?

Apart form that it's a nice idea.

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FFS it looks like a pocket calculator

so much for the design, it even has the wedge on the back so you can see the screen when its on the desk

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Consumers probably have "four or five devices" that do WhatsApp already

Not officially. WhatsApp officially works only on one's primary phone, the account being tied to its phone number. You can synchronise a web app view from a desktop/laptop, but they've made it intentionally awkward to do the same from a tablet. There are of course workarounds for all this, involving number fakers and whatnot, but not for the faint-hearted.

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Security?

Security's not my forte, but isn't it generally reckoned to be a big security no-no for each device to have its own unique ID? I remember all the fuss when Intel tried to do the same thing with their Pentium III processors.

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Re: Security?

When it comes to cell phones, it can't be helped. It's expected to receive communications: a basic part of its function. Without a unique identifier like an IMEI, there's literally no way for cell phone providers to tell phones apart and address them individually: and before you start with broadcasting, bandwidth is precious over the air due to the Shannon-Hartley Theorem. It's basically a part-and-parcel problem: you either have both or neither.

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""four or five devices" that do WhatsApp already"

Quick office survey of the 9 people sat round me. We all have exactly ONE device that can do Whatsapp.

If I wanted to use a basic phone I'd just dig out the 12yr old Nokia 6300 in my drawer. It doesn't get used much these days apart from hammering in nails and removing ice from the car in winter.

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Go

Period...or Punkt

“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.”

Petter Neby, founder of Punkt.

Perfect. Thank you. Period...or Punkt!

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Why the high price?

It sounds like no camera - fine, and no slew of useless apps - fine, just a phone - fine. Then the price should be under $50.00, otherwise I will be one who ignores it. These devices must be cheap to make - fine. So sell them at a reasonable price.

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Facepalm

So its a burner phone for 6 times the price? Bargain. Where do I not get one?

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Nokia 207

Nokia 207 though not Android ( it's series 40) nor 4G is still a simple cheap 3G/3.5G phone with Exchange and IMAP support. Replaceable battery good time between charges i.e several days. Fast startup time. Micro SD card storage up to 32Gb. On that basis, ticks many boxes for the minimalist fan I would think. In a robust little candy bar form factor. Colour but non-touchscreen display with physical keypad.

And it can be used for tethering, via USB. Great for environments where WiFi or Bluetooth might not work so well - e.g at trade exhibitions from personal experience - where the radio spectrum is crowded by others trying the same.

The 3/3.5G connectivity is great for the tethering capability as well as for email and the phone's built in web browser. Also better sound quality in calls with 3G calling. 3/3.5G adds future proofing - for countries that are looking at switching off 2G coverage to reuse radio band for higherspeed data. 3/3.5G also means phone works with Three in UK which is a 3G and above mobile network.

With all these features though, one would still wonder why anything more than Series 40 is necessary. Therefore use of Android in the Punkt seems excessive.

The Nokia 207 is what the resurrected 3310 should have been. The original 3310 had no camera and nor does the 207. This is great for several reasons: makes it suitable for those environments where cameras are not permitted like some high security workplaces and some rappers concerts! Secondly encourages you to be in the moment of an experience rather than recording it. Thirdly no camera lens to worry about scratching. Adding a camera in the resurrected 3310 was feature creep.

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Shame they cut a corner on this premium product

VERY disappointed that there are two models - a 'European' one and an 'American' one - with different spectrum cover in each model. A premium product like this should have the ability to be used in the widest possible number of places and it doesn't. Was excited when the new model was announced and so let down when the the specs were finally released.

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Re: Shame they cut a corner on this premium product

Probably because there's a lot more involved than you think. Not only do you need the right modem chip (and last I checked, only Qualcomm's chips tick all the boxes), but you also need specific antenna design to cover the bases (physics gets in the way there). Also remember, US LTE bands and other LTE bands are mutually exclusive due to prior allocations. The biggest hangup is that 1.8GHz--LTE Band III, the most universal one--was already taken by the US government (the military, I think) long before LTE was ever a thing.

There's a StackExchange discussion about this.

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Re: Shame they cut a corner on this premium product

Thanks for the info.

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Less costs more?

Too much for what it is... at half the price I'd give it a go.

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Seen similar on kickstarter $89?

There is a $89 Maker Phone proposed that looks a little similar, though it seems to only have GSM, a deal breaker here (Ireland) as the Mobile Ops are allowed to change GSM to 3G with only a 6th month notice to Regulator and none to consumer.

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