Punkt has been selling phones with minimalist design and a limited set of features for the past few years. The latest model is the Punkt MP02 4G mobile phone, which was introduced in 2018 with a 2 inch black and white display, a number pad, and support for voice calls, text messaging, and not much else (although it did add support for encrypted Signal messaging a few years after launch.
But late last year CrackBerry revealed that Punkt had also built a prototype of a smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard before deciding not to bring it to market. Now CrackBerry reports that Punkt has reversed course and does plan to produce and sell the Punkt MC01 Legend smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard after all. But it’s not the only new phone the company has in the pipeline.
The other model is a previously unannounced phone with no physical keyboard or number pad. Instead it has a touchscreen display… you know, like most modern smartphones.
But it’s still positioned as a minimalist phone with a simple design and feature set. It will run a de-Googled, Android-based operating system called AphyOS that places an emphasis on privacy and features basic apps including email, calendar notes, and a to-do list as well as subscription-based services including secure cloud storage and a VPN.
CrackBerry’s Kevin Michaluk got a look at a prototype of the upcoming touchscreen phone at IFA in Berlin earlier this month, and reports that the phone has a “paint splatter texture” on the back, and a simple set of features for “bridging the gap between basic feature phones and their smarter counterparts.”
Since the operating system is based on Android, it’s likely that users who really want to load third-party apps will have a wide variety to choose from. But the AphyOS is based on GrapheneOS and ships without access to the Google Play Store. And honestly, if you wanted a standard Android phone, I’m not really sure why you’d be looking at a Punkt device in the first place.
The Punkt MC01 Legend keyboard phone is also expected to run AphyOS, but and the prototype we saw last year had physical home, back and recent buttons above the keyboard.
There’s no word on when either phone will be available for purchase, how much they’ll cost, or what kind of processor, memory, or storage they have.
But specs are kind of beside the point with phones that are designed to be less distracting than the average iPhone or Android device. If you’re using your phone for basic communication, scheduling and note-taking, you don’t need a blazing fast processor, a 120 Hz full color display, or an impressive multi-camera system.