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...

    1. 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.)

      1. 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 ??

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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?

              1. 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.

              2. 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.

            2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              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.

            3. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
              Big Brother

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

              Their security or yours?

          2. 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.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. 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.

          1. 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

          2. 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...

            1. 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?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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.

              1. 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.

                1. 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.

                  1. 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.

                    1. 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!

                  2. 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.

                  3. 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

              2. 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

              3. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. 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.

            3. 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.

        2. 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.

        3. 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.

      3. 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.

    2. 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

  2. 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?

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Justified

      A third of the price of new iPhone?

    2. 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.

      1. DougS Silver badge
        Trollface

        Its in the name

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

      2. 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. :( :( :(

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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".

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          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?

          1. 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.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

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

            I have the Gemini and I love it. I have a use for it and a lifestyle which fit together to make it a problem solving bulls-eye for me.

            However, I can't talk about the Agenda app (they've also got a reboot of the Psion database app coming) because I've been exclusively sailfish since it become available.

  6. Tinslave_the_Barelegged

    Bravo...

    ...for the sub headline. Made my day.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
      Pint

      Re: Bravo...

      I see what you did there. Here, have this ----->

    2. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: Bravo...

      Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda almost didn't notice.

  7. PeeKay
    Meh

    Unrooted does not mean secure

    "In the three years since the Priv launched, BlackBerry has yet to see it rooted. BlackBerry wants IoT device manufacturers to adopt this as a quality mark. With so much insecure home tat flying in from China, consumers and industrial buyers need all the help they can get."

    While I'd admit that all IoT things needs a hellava lot more security, being unable to root a device is not necessarily an indicator of security for your devices at home - and I wouldn't use this as a measure of how secure - ultimately - that device is (be it IoT, phones, et al).

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: DOA

      Most of the companies I deal with now are banning or planning to ban WhatsApp from company devices.

      Either you cannot have any contacts on the phone or you can't use WhatsApp (well, you can use WhatsApp with the link to contacts disabled, but you then only get a list of messages with the senders' phone numbers, no names and you can't add new contacts to WhatsApp, making it effectively useless.

      We moved to a mixture of Threema and Signal, because the way they treat contacts falls within the rules of GDPR, whilst WhatsApp has been declared by many DPO, including a couple in Germany, as non-compliant. Probably the biggest company I've heard of banning WhatsApp is Conti/Continental.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: DOA

        That could be solved by third party contact management software.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: DOA

      Not sure how consumers probably have four of five devices that do WhatsApp already unless they have, erm, two or three phones already with WhatsApp web set up.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DOA

      Whatsapp is pretty much a necessity now.

      Obviously in some parallel universe to the corporate world I work in. And indeed personally....what is this "Wassup" of which you speak?

      1. Andy 97

        Re: DOA

        I suggest Slack would be pretty important for some.

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: DOA

        Parallel universe yes. For my colleague and myself it's invaluable for sharing images and data about jobs. With due regard to GDPR of course, nothing identifiable.

  9. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I like the idea (if not the price)

    I did think there'd be a market for a phone running Wear OS.

    I figure it should have decent battery life given a form factor larger than a watch and there's a small app market. Add a hardware "airplane mode" switch, removable battery back a la Nokia 5110 and make sure there's no camera and it could be the ideal business phone.

  10. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    So it's a £10 dumb phone that can do 4g tethering.

    It's overpriced by a multiple of at least 10.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Exactly. If I wanted a dumbphone - which this _IS_ - I could still have either an old one or a new one, damn nearly for free. Reading the headline I was hoping they came up with something that would enhance my control over my data and privacy on an actual smartphone but no - they just went for the trivial baby + bathwater "solution".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      dumb phone

      Wow, ad-homs against devices now.

      The problem is that when you buy what's supposed to be a "dumb phone" these days it's normally just a fully functioning chipset in a crippled shell. Anyone who understands what an attack surface is realises that that isn't reducing your vulnerability, just your control.

  11. PTW

    I can understand no Whatsapp

    To be free of the Facebook slurp, but no Signal? I would have thought that a no brainer.

    Although, with no store I guess a secure update process would be more difficult - the Signal website even carries a warning about downloading the apk directly.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I can understand no Whatsapp

      Exactly, if I wanted to have a phone that would only call and text, I'd dig out my old Nokia (or Sony, or whatever will still hold a charge).

      These days I want some kind of secure messaging, be that Signal, or Telegram or Whatsapp or whatever.

      Sure, they say:

      Neby said consumers probably have "four or five devices" that do WhatsApp already.

      Which just begs the question, why would I bother carrying their device around as well? It doesn't give me anything I don't get elsewhere.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It runs Android...

    ...therefore it will never be secure. If you take all the data gathering out of Android, you're left with □.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: It runs Android...

      AOSP. Android Open Source Project. The clue is in the name.

      Of course, like more traditional desktop GNU Linux distributions there is the matter of binary blob (closed) drivers (though in this case more reading up might be a good idea - this device has fewer chipsets to require binary blobs), and even nefarious hardware inserted into the supply chain (see recent articles).

  13. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Why android?

    It apparently has the feature set of a circa-2000 Nokia (except for the 3G and 4G network support). So why is it running the resource-hungry android?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Why android?

      Because developing their own dumb OS would be more expensive. Unfortunately Android/AOSP is the lowest common denominator.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Why android?

        And what about some of the older ones already out there? Is there something wrong with Sailfish? Meego? System 60? App assortment isn't a priority, so there goes Android's chief advantage, and the older OS's were built with weaker CPUs and batteries in mind, meaning they'll sip the power better by necessity.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Why android?

          Sailfish has to be paid for.

          Meego is dead for today's hardware.

          System 60 is closed and dead.

          Android/AOSP is free, therefore it's used even though it's not suited for dumbphones. I don't agree with it, but that's the way it is.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Why android?

            All of the above, save System 60, are based on Linux like Android is.

            There's QNX - owned by Blackberry for last few years - that can be much smaller than any Linux varient, but presumably the Punkt developers are happy with the battery life.

          2. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Why android?

            Presumably Android modem drivers from the ODMs are easier to get hold of than those for other OSs.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Why android?

              OK, so if blob access is an issue (and with ODM, they're always blobs), then it's probably a matter of accessibility. As Android is the go-to OS for mobile component manufacturers not in the Apple bandwagon, that would limit options.

              1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

                Re: Why android?

                There is the Nokia 8110 4G, which is an HMD Global 'feature phone', with 4G and tethering. It runs a derivative of KaiOS. It is considerably cheaper than the Punkt.

                Having got one with the express intention of avoiding Android and iOS, and using tethering to give on-the-go Internet access to other devices, I'll say it is very much a curate's egg.

                The derivative of KaiOS ain't open, and it is very restrictive. The UI is very unpolished, and the keyboard is nowhere near as good/ergonomic as the original Nokia 8110. If you can, I would strongly recommend trying one out for a few days before deciding whether to buy one for yourself.

                I'm waiting for Sailfish OS 3.0 to be released, hopefully this month, and will likely get a compatible Sony phone, although I'm not over-keen on buying a SONY-branded product ever since the 'CD' rootkit debacle. I console myself with the sophistry that Sony Mobile are a pretty much separate company to Sony BMG - even so, for some people (including me) SONY is a toxic brand.

                Assuming Sailfish 3.0 lives up to expectations, the Nokia 8810 4G will become my reserve phone - still useful, but not the daily driver.

  14. myhandler

    I like it but I need mapping.

    I want a minimal slurp free phone - I'd pay $350 for that.

    This is no better than my dumb phone.

  15. alain williams Silver badge

    It looks very nice

    Phone calls, texts, address book, tethering - that is all that I really need.

    It would be nice if they provided the source code so that it could be verified, but they won't -- shame.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It looks very nice

      "It would be nice if they provided the source code so that it could be verified, but they won't"

      They're obliged to provide source code for all the GPL stuff but not for anything they've added.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: It looks very nice

        "They're obliged to provide source code for all the GPL stuff but not for anything they've added."

        Plus ODM drivers are always blobbed because the market there is cutthroat and no one wants to Give Information to the Enemy. And because all 4G-and-up tech and most 3G tech is still under active patent, opening modem chips up (the most important part of the cell phone) ain't gonna happen for any length of time that would be practical.

  16. finbarre

    ... but why does it have 2GB RAM? Surely it would need less than half that.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      My guess is because it only cost a few quid to add and they hoped it would help to justify the enormous cost of the phone.

  17. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Interesting comments.

    They seem to go along the line.

    Great phone, if only it had....

    email

    Whatsapp

    Mapping

    any other app i use more than 2 times a day

    While i am sure there are niche markets for such a phone, in the end people find while minimalism looks good in the shop window, real life is more complicated than that

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "While i am sure there are niche markets for such a phone"

      Clearly it's aimed at such niche markets. All those comments are really saying "I'm not in that niche". OK, they're not. So what?

  18. oiseau Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I may be just a crazy old man, but I want one.

    Maybe ...

    But then I'm also crazy (varied friends' opinions), for the moment refuse to consider myself old and would also want one, albeit not for 350.

    It's just a f*ck*ng phone FGS.

    Just without all the assorted/innecessary crap that cell phones come with these days, which should really make it much cheaper.

    That said, I get along just fine with an old BB9320 (when the keyboard is not acting up) or a Samsung E220 as a trusty spare.

  19. 0laf Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    I'd rather not carry multiple devices if I can help it. I think that's the case for most people which is why they often have one powerful phone type device which does 90% of their needs.

    This is an expensive dumb phone with tethering which means I'd still have to carry multiple devices.

    If I'm going to carry multiple devices anyway I would probably choose a sub $50 dumb phone and a $50 4G dongle or a device with built in LTE.

    This seems a bit, well, wanky.

    Anyone remember the Harry Enfield sketch where he runs a shop called "I saw you coming"?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it's good that it does calls really well. much like its useful when a toilet flushes, or a knife cuts.

    cant image what i'd do with a phone that didnt make calls very well. but i guess this is the world in which we live, where products are credited for doing the very thing that predicates their existance.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      cant image what i'd do with a phone that didnt make calls very well.

      There's a surprising number of them, and from some highly rated vendors.

  21. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    IP52

    Not good enough, sorry.

    The upcoming Cat B35 basically seems to do everything this does, plus be water, dust and drop resistant, and will cost a lot less.

    1. Choux

      Re: IP52

      The Cat B35 is already out, thankfully! £99 direct from Cat, probably slightly more elsewhere.

      It has a certain bulky charm to it, plus a scratch resistant screen, which is a big plus over the HMD 8110 4G. Given the pricepoint I'll probably end up getting one, to serve as a backup/featurephone w. hotspot and email. It covers most bases, and everything else is just residual habit from smartphone use (and the kind of thing that I don't mind not having if I, say, run out of juice on the android behemoth that lives in my trousers.

      I do have some minor reservations about KaiOS, since I don't know how much information is able to be slurped from it via the inevitable google bloat. Possibly also worth considering that while whatsapp is available on the platform it's currently only available for Jio devices, and neither KaiOS/Whatsapp haven't made a statement of intent re:broader availability which might be an issue for some.

      1. JibberX

        Re: IP52

        I bought the 8110 4G recently, screen scratched on the day of purchase. Must be all the diamonds (pocket grit, plastic screen) in my pocket?

        Wish I'd seen the Cat before I impulse bought.

        4G hotspot works abroad without buying extra tethering, so saving me a fiver a day already.

        Removable battery on the 8110 might be good if I could find replacements, over the Cat, but that has 600 extra mahs.

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: IP52 - It has a certain bulky charm to it

        Comparable in size to the current Sony compact, which is about the smallest waterproof Android. How far we have come...not always in a good way.

        I remember around 2000 on the Underground seeing someone with his brand new Motorola V8088 - a tiny thing - and obviously desperately hoping someone would notice he had the latest, coolest, tiniest...but of course there was no signal so he was reduced to fiddling with and opening and shutting it ostentatiously. Today I am sure that man has the latest, biggest iPhone.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Gunk in your pocket

          Will often include quartz from sandy grit, which will scratch any plastic. If it was easy to make screens that are both scratch and break resistant, we'd see phones that could stand up to both without basically building a thick case around them like the CAT.

      3. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Re: IP52

        I share your reservations about KaiOS.

        That said, the JioPhone 2 looks interesting, with the Qwerty-keyboard, but since it is only available in India, locked to Reliance's network, it's not something I could play with. As it also seems to be locked to Reliance's walled garden (Jio Store), I suspect KaiOS is aimed at network operators wanting to maintain or increase their ARPU and not paranoid FLOSS junkies like me.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Full Android?

    Does it run a full android? 12 days operating time is impressive but in many cases I hear Google Services is what eats battery. Removing it means you have no Google maps but that might not be an app you want to run on a small screen like that

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Full Android?

      Yeah I can get a week out of my Lenovo P2 (5100mAh battery) if I want. Switching to a ROM that uses MicroG (open source re-implementation of the Google Play APIs) gave a large increase to battery life.

  23. Velv Silver badge
    Headmaster

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

    Well, no, they probably don’t, because WhatsApp unlike many competitor messaging apps restricts itself to phones only, so it doesn’t run as an app on my tablets, PCs, Macs etc. (I don’t count running it in a browser with convoluted access as a sufficient App).

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      The mac version doesn't even really run on the mac - it just acts as a frontend and your phone has to be constantly connected.

      I use it for its convenience to use a real keyboard, but it's not really running on the mac.

  24. Bob Vistakin
    Facepalm

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

    WTF does this give you a £20 burner from ASDA doesn't?

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      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.

    2. Calum Morrison

      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.

  25. JohnFen Silver badge

    "Blackberry hardened"?

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

  26. Gene Cash Silver badge

    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?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Rather a sad battery

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

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        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.

  27. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    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.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      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.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    *

    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.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      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?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        *

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

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  30. dank_army

    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

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      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.

    2. 10forcash Bronze badge

      Re: Ffs

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

      Petrol or diesel?

      Makes a difference ya know!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    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

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      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...

    2. MonkeyControl

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

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

  33. SonOfDilbert
    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.

  34. Wincerind

    £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

  35. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    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.

  36. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    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

  37. David Gosnell

    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.

  38. Thoguht Silver badge

    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.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      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.

  39. Daz555

    ""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.

  40. Cavehomme_ Bronze badge
    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!

  41. fraunthall

    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.

  42. Shades
    Facepalm

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

  43. Rob Davis

    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.

  44. b_armitage

    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.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      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.

      1. b_armitage

        Re: Shame they cut a corner on this premium product

        Thanks for the info.

  45. TsVk!

    Less costs more?

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

  46. Mage Silver badge

    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.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can you drop the battery? (no)

    It looks like you can't drop the battery. Honestly I'd say that's the ONLY security feature that matters now days. I had a "friend" who was getting located by the cops in a city and dropping her battery was the ONLY way she could see the cops chasing her quit moving her direction and start scratching their heads. (other than ditching the phone entirely of course).

    These things do not turn off. Sure, I'd trust that MAYBE Blackberry can make a phone that reliably turns off. MAYBE. But without the backup of killing the power entirely just forget it. Also, how can you have a hacker friendly phone that DOESN'T allow you to drop the battery.

    So silly.

  48. kayak

    Perfect for kids and teens.

    I have 5 kids, ages 7-16. This is the ONLY phone that offers talk and text without an internet browser and all the apps. I know a ton of families that would adopt this platform. The problem is, even most flip phones have web browsers.

    People are finally catching onto the issues with social media. It's tearing society apart, keeping us from talking to one another, all while Big Data tracks and records our every move to be sold to the highest bidder. And yet, we hand over these devices to our kids when they turn 3 years old to keep them occupied.

    This phone is marketed towards executives, but it's perfect for families looking to keep their kids from turning into another drone staring at their hand. Not to mention the dangers of hardcore you-know-what at their fingertips.

    Sincerely,

    A Parent Who Cares About Their Kids' Technology Consumption

  49. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are you SURE about that? Do you KNOW that you know or do you only THINK that you know?

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