Earlier this month, Google made a surprising move by forcing Android manufacturers to include a Digital Wellbeing app (either of their own making or Google’s) by default on their devices. The instruction means that, somewhat like iOS, Android smartphones will have out-of-the-box access to time monitoring features, application restrictions, and potentially a revised Do Not Disturb mode.
Now, Google has waded one step further into the realm of digital wellbeing with the release of five new apps – marketed as non-committal ‘experiments’ that seek to highlight our behaviour with our smartphones in interesting ways.
Morph is a new Android launcher which allows users to specify a number of apps that will be available between given ‘modes’ – such as setting email and instant messaging clients for availability at ‘work’, or a number of games and entertainment apps for ‘play’. The idea, as explored by some Android launchers previously, is to limit the number of available applications at any time to rather focus on contextual and specific functions that one might need their phone for.
Another Android launcher, Desert Island is slightly different in its execution as rather than limit the number of apps between different modes, the launcher instead forces users to go their day with access to only seven apps; meaning that (within the launcher, at least) everything else will remain inaccessible.
Unlock Clock isn’t so much an app as it is a live wallpaper that can be found in Google’s Wallpapers app. While it does tell time, the real function of Unlock Clock (50 points if you can say that without stammering into life some unfortunate homonyms) is to count the number of times you’ve unlocked your phone each day and display that information right up-front.
Post Box is designed to curtail the ever-growing notification fountain we’re forced to deal with by limiting notifications to only appear at designated times. Rather than pruning one’s notifications throughout the day, users will instead be presented with a digest of all their missed notifications at a time they specify.
Perhaps the most fun out of all these experiments, We Flip is a social game designed to curb phone addiction at events. ‘Players’ will tether their phones through NFC and place their phones down with the app open and engage with one another. The goal of the game is to go for as long as possible without a user ‘flipping’ their phone – the first person to grab their phone ends the game.
What are your thoughts?
Would you use any of Google’s Digital Wellbeing ‘experiments’? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!