Smartphone vendors are responsible for a huge paradox that has no simple fix. On the one hand, they’re making more sophisticated devices that offer better and better experiences to inevitably get you addicted. On the other hand, they’re aware that spending too much time on the phone isn’t a good thing, and they’re trying to figure out ways that will motivate you to reduce screen time. Such wellness tools are already built into mobile operating systems, but they only work if you have the will to follow through — if you’re an adult in charge of your own phone, that is, since kids might not be able to bypass any restrictions set by parental controls. But Google isn’t satisfied with current tools available for Android, so the company has devised three new crazy app concepts meant to keep you off your precious phone.
These apps are Screen Stopwatch, Activity Bubbles, and Envelope, Android Police reports. The first two are similar concepts. They should convince you that you’re spending too much time on your phone, and help you reduce it.
Screen Stopwatch runs a timer on your home screen that stops only when you stop using the phone. Every time you unlock it, the stopwatch starts counting again.
Activity Bubbles is also an interactive wallpaper that uses bubbles to convey the same message. The more you use the phone after you unlock it, the more bubbles accumulate on your home screen.
The last one is also the craziest, as it involves a lot more than the others. Envelope, which only works on the Pixel 3a for the time being, forces you to print a PDF from the app that you can turn into a specialized envelope. You only have access to the dialer and the camera once you place the phone inside the envelope and seal said envelope. And that’s how you have to use it. Yes, you’ll need a new envelope every time you take the phone out.