This Phone Is Designed To Discourage You From Using It

A Kickstarter project proposes a ground-breaking mobile phone that employs neuroscience, behaviour design, and mindfulness to help users keep their focus where they want it.

No Candy Crush here

How many times do you check your phone each day? Be honest.

10 times? 20 times? 40 times?

Now take whatever number you guessed and double it.

According to a 2015 study, young adults use their smartphones roughly twice as much as they estimate they do. Research from Informate Mobile Intelligence, also conducted in 2015, found that Americans now spend an average of 4.7 hours a day using their phones to talk, text, socialise, and conduct business.

Though we’re not all young, and we’re not all American, it’s not hard to see the bigger picture: we’re infatuated with our devices.

Oakland-based startup Siempo believes it has a solution to the obsession. The company has launched a Kickstarter for a mobile phone that employs neuroscience, behaviour design, and mindfulness to help users keep their focus where they want it.

Siempo calls its gadget “the first smart phone with emotional intelligence.” It boasts the built-in functions you expect and plans to add apps from third parties in the future, but its primary focus is providing productivity with minimal distraction.

The Siempo phone introduces interruption controls to ensure users’ attention remains where it matters most. A dedicated external button allows you to mute all distractions for multiples of 15 minutes (you may add exceptions to allow select contacts to override the pause). A function called ‘Tempo’ lets you receive notifications in batches at set intervals of 15, 30, or 60 minutes.

The user interface is designed to help you complete tasks without getting sidetracked. You can send a text, save a note, search the web, bookmark a page, and more – all without leaving the homepage.To keep the home screen uncluttered and your to-do list on schedule, use the Intention field. Try the ‘Mindful Morning’ feature to create a morning routine that sets you up for an effective, focused day.

Even Siempo’s standard features are built to encourage focus. The operating system was designed to deliver most of the functions you expect from a smartphone, to lessen the need for endless apps and complex settings. The browser and email client have settings that enable you to set parameters for how much time you spend surfing the internet and who you receive emails from.

The startup’s co-founder, Andreas Gala, said in a press release:

Siempo is the only phone designed to help users reclaim control over their time and attention, without compromising access to the digital world. By removing access to internet distractions and providing smart notification management, Siempo helps people live life well, and at their own tempo.

As of writing, the Kickstarter has 23 days left to reach its US$500,000 goal. You can pledge here if you’re interested in becoming a backer.