The BoringPhone is a minimalist smartphone with all the useful things, but none of the distracting stuff.
The BoringPhone trims away the distractions leaving just the useful tools.
Bridging the gap between "not enough" and "too much", the BoringPhone is the perfect balance.
The BoringPhone is for people who want to spend less time on their phone, and more time doing the things that matter to them.
Smartphones are great, but by design they draw us into spending more and more time on them.
Because smartphones are engineered to capture our attention, it’s often not enough to simply say “I’m going to use my smartphone less.” To shift an unconscious habit we need to take conscious steps that change our behavior.
Deciding to use the BoringPhone is a deliberate choice to limit the amount of time you spend on your phone. When your phone is boring, there’s simply nothing mindless to do on it and so your time becomes available for other things.
It’s pretty common for us to spend ten, twenty or even thirty hours per week on general unfocused smartphone use. That time can be freed up and redirected towards whatever it is you choose - reading actual books, getting out and exercising, learning something new, starting a side hustle - it’s all there if you have the time.
Every time you stop a task to check your phone for notifications, you lose focus on what you are doing. The BoringPhone doesn’t have social media or email, which reduces notifications. You’ll still be available for calls or important messages from friends and family, but you won’t be interrupted because a picture of an egg is trending.
We’ve all been guilty of it: Half listening to someone while waiting for them to finish so we can check our phone, or simply looking at our phone while we’re talking to people. It’s not the end of the world, but it is good to be really present with our friends, family and partners. Removing the smartphone can remove barriers and allow the space to truly connect with the people that matter to us.
Smartphones these days are set up to suck up as much data as possible. Multiple apps track not just their own usage, but our location and other data they can access. The BoringPhone slows this deluge down to a trickle. Less data also means less cost.
Early bird specials are still available. For more details see the rewards section. Prices in NZD$, but click on a reward to see an estimate in your local currency (no purchase required to see the estimate).
Yes! One of the reasons for creating the BoringPhone was for it to be a “first” phone for children. There are a number of advantages to the BoringPhone:
- It looks like any other sleek, high quality smartphone.
- It has NO internet browser, social media, mobile games or application store.
- It does have data messaging, voice and video calling.
- It is a high quality handset, that will last several years (if looked after!)
- The background can be changed to remove the BoringPhone logo!
The BoringPhone is an option when you want to be able to contact your child when they are away from home, but don’t yet want to provide everything that regular smartphones have.
We have added the Early Bird ‘First’ Phone Value Pack as a reward option. This pack comes with the handset, a good quality set of earphones, and your choice of over 30 cover designs. If you select this option, we will send through a survey so that you can select the cover design.
Delivery of the BoringPhone will be in time to be a perfect Christmas gift.
Special Options for Parents! We pleased to be able to offer additional options just for parents:
- Later "Upgrade" to Regular Smartphone Option. When your child is ready for a full smartphone, we can revert the handset to a stock Android phone. We will do this for just the cost of postage (although we are also working on remote "upgrade" method).
- Unbranded Phone and Packaging Option. If you choose it, we'll send the BoringPhone without any branding on the packaging, or in the phone - including a set of unbranded wallpaper backgrounds.
Signal is an open source messaging app created Signal Messenger LLC. Usage of the Signal app is subject to their terms and conditions, available here: https://signal.org/legal/ . BoringPhone is not affiliated with Signal. We just really like their software.
The BoringPhone is focused on functionality and so we’re using a simple, but high quality base phone: The Xiaomi Mi A1 32GB. The main specifications are:
Please note: If we run into supply issues with the Mi A1, we may have to use another base phone. In that scenario we will make sure to use a replacement of similar quality. At present, the second of the dual cameras (telephoto) is not available (the main and selfie cameras work well!).
How you use the BoringPhone is entirely up to you. Based on feedback so far, here are some ideas for how people might incorporate the BoringPhone into their lives:
She has a BoringPhone and an iPhone. She keeps her SIM card in the BoringPhone and has it when she is out of the house, at work or socializing. At home, her iPhone is connected to WiFi, so she can stay up to date with social media and the online world - in deliberate conscious sessions.
They like it because it looks the same as everyone else‘s phone. Their parents like it because it doesn’t have an internet browser or any social media apps. The ‘Signal’ messaging app allows the family to stay in contact with data messages, voice and video calling.
During the week, he needs to keep his work phone close by for emails. But the weekend is his time. He transfers over his SIM to his BoringPhone and the emails and stress of work are left behind. On his BoringPhone he can still be contacted if something catches fire. On odd occasions, he uses data tethering to connect his laptop to the internet.
The parents want their children to have a chance to know themselves before they take on the digital world. The kids have BoringPhones but so do the parents - it’s sometimes best to lead by example! They have a computer or tablet in the family space for going online as needed.
When they feel their phone use getting out of hand, they charge up their BoringPhone and use it for a detox period. This gives them a way to break the pattern of overuse. They can then take this calmer usage pattern back to their regular phone.
He has forgone all social media accounts and does not wish to be blasted by the full noise of the online world. The BoringPhone is his selective connection. He can arrange to meet friends by calling or messaging, find the meetup point using the map system, maybe even listen to a podcast on the way there.
Video of full boot, upgrade and factory reset available here
The BoringPhone is the BoringPhone Operating System (OS) installed and running on a generic Android handset - plus a carefully selected set of open source applications.
The BoringPhoneOS is a modified version of the open source LineageOS. The reason this project is for a physical handset and an installed operating system together, is because changing the OS on an Android phone is quite technical. Our goal is to make the BoringPhone a simple and straightforward option for everyone.
You should double check with your network provider or at frequencycheck.com, but general availability and network compatibility is as above.
The BoringPhone OS supports over 100 languages. Contact us to confirm that your language is included.
We have the Operating System running, and are continuing to test and improve it. Our planned timeline is set out below:
If we are able to, we will try to get the rewards out a bit ahead of schedule.
The rewards are set out below. Please note that the prices are in NZ dollars. Select a reward and your country and you can see an estimate in your local currency - you don’t have to buy it to see it.
Shipping prices are set out further down, or when you click on a reward. You will be responsible for any tariffs/duties from your country.
Prices are in NZ dollars. Select a reward and your country and you can see an estimate in your local currency
Shipping will be a nicely packed box, sent by tracked international courier. You will be responsible for any tariffs/duties from your country.
BoringPhone is a small NZ startup with a focus on improving our relationship with technology. It was founded by childhood friends, Alex Davidson and Jasper Mackenzie. Alex had struggled with his own smartphone usage and was looking for something to bridge the gap between old dumb phones and smartphones. Jasper had already created various limited phone options for his children, and was ready to develop those ideas into the BoringPhone prototype.
The difference in quality of life using the BoringPhone was so profound that they believed other people might also benefit from this type of phone.
We decided on a Kickstarter campaign to test if the world was interested. So far, in preparing to launch on Kickstarter, opinion has been divided. Many people find the BoringPhone concept almost incomprehensible. Some people have even become angry when the idea of a phone without a browser is suggested. However, there is a group of people who are very interested and excited to discover the idea of a smartphone that is not actively seeking to monopolize their attention. We are aiming the phone at this pioneering group.
We are very pleased to have been featured in the following:
Our media kit (or press kit) is available online here
Risks and challenges
For this project, we are using existing stuff, combined together in a new way. The handset that we are planning to use has been commercially available for some time with no issues reported.
The operating system software that we are using as our starting point is in active use by over 1.7m users, and well supported.
The first prototypes we have put together have been running smoothly for several months.
Any hardware project carries some risk. However, by using existing hardware and modifying existing software (in a new way), we are confident that we can produce and ship a successful product for all our backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)