In Android 10, Google added a number of functions at the system level to help users actively control mobile phone usage habits; such as Focus Mode and the Family Link app, which makes it easy for parents to check the time spent on their children ’s phones. In 2019, Google also launched five apps to help users put down their phones to enjoy life on various occasions. Today, Google has again launched three apps with similar functions, and continues to work to achieve the goal of helping users control their mobile phone usage time.

Envelope: Put your phone in a "paper house"?

paper house is a third-party application. As the name suggests, this is indeed an app that lets you use the content carried by a sheet of A4 paper to replace your mobile phone needs throughout the day.

By 2020, the special projects of the development team once again showed us the alternative they had come up with in order to let you put down your mobile phone: using the pre-made PDF file in the App, printing out an A4 paper enough to wrap the mobile phone just in the Inside the "paper house", after cutting it down and folding it, open the App on the mobile phone and grant the camera and phone permissions, then you can put the phone in.

When the phone is in the "paper house", in addition to using the preset keys on the paper to make calls on the phone, you can also achieve the most basic camera functions: no filter effect, no auxiliary line. All you need to do is to take the following steps: Take out your phone-turn on the camera-aim at the target and take a picture-lock the screen and walk away. You can't even check how the shot is going after shooting.

It is also worth mentioning that the mobile phone is in the "sealed" state to check the time: press the "Clock" button on the paper, the time will glow on the corresponding number and ring: for example, when the time is 4:18 , The dial pad will light up the 4-1-8 three keys twice in sequence, as if someone is really answering your request by pressing the dial pad.

The development team said that the development of this app was inspired by the behavior of many people "using old phones to find real silence and filtering out invalid information during holidays", hoping to "degenerate" smartphones with a piece of paper. Although this app does not have installation restrictions for Android devices, this software is still in the early stages of development. The "paper house" for mobile phones printed with built-in PDF files is also only "tailored" for Pixel 3a. Even the Pixel 3a XL or higher-end Pixel 4 are temporarily unable to enjoy the experience brought by this app.

Screen Stopwatch: Show duration on wallpaper

Screen Stopwatch is a live wallpaper. After you set it as the default wallpaper, a huge timer will be displayed vertically on the home screen: this is not the actual time, but it shows the real time you use your phone today.

For me, although I care a lot about the time I spend on my phone every day, and even pin the shortcut of digital health to the most prominent position on the home screen, I still ignore it and do not play a real "reduce screen Use time ". Screen Stopwatch solved my problem perfectly in a simple and rude way. At the same time, the animation of the flip clock allows it to be saved as the most important viewing attribute of "wallpaper". For me, it is a live wallpaper that is worth long-term use.

Activity Bubbles: Use Bubbles to Quantify Mobile Phone Duration

Similar to Screen Stopwatch, Activity Bubbles is also a live wallpaper app. When you set it as the default wallpaper, the initial background is a solid black with almost no light, but every time you unlock your phone, a white bubble will fall automatically from the top of the screen. As your phone's usage time increases, this bubble will also increase, such as the effect:

As the phone's usage time accumulates, the bubble will gradually occupy more and more areas of the phone screen, although it cannot change the state with the phone's gyroscope like the Pixel's own live wallpaper. But the animation effect when the bubble is falling is also delicate enough. The developer adopted another quasi-physical style different from the Screen Stopwatch analog flip clock to achieve the purpose of "allowing users to consciously control the duration of mobile phone use".

Google is very experienced in researching the direction of "reducing the harm caused by addicting to mobile phones". In addition to pushing feature updates in system updates, publishing test apps to verify new features in advance is also an option for many phone manufacturers. When Google promotes these apps that help users drop their phones, the user usage data they get will also help related feature updates in the next Android version update.

Last modified: February 15, 2020



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