For good reason, there is plenty of concern right now about the possible dangers of smartphone addiction, particularly among kids and teenagers. While we’re still pretty far away from conclusive findings or solutions, a new Android app called Siempo wants to help you kick the smartphone habit — or, at least, stop you wasting quite so much time staring at it.
To help with this mission, Siempo gives you a calmer home page to look at it, minus the flashy badged icons and attention-grabbing logos which are A/B tested to heck to get you tapping on them. Think of it as the equivalent of walking down a street in which none of the stores have fancy window displays to lure you in.
Siempo also gives you a bit more control over your notifications by allowing you to receive alerts every half an hour, hour, or even every day. That means you’re no longer constantly distracted from what you’re doing because someone happens to like your picture on Facebook or mention you in a tweet.
Speaking with Digital Trends, Siempo CEO Andrew Dunn described the app as, “more than just a self-control app — it’s a whole new smartphone interface designed to prevent unconscious usage and promote intentionality. Siempo [is] the first step towards creating a single wellness filter across all devices that is on the user’s side, protecting their attention and promoting well-being.”
If the Siempo name sounds faintly familiar, it’s because we actually covered it last year when it was a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of launching an actual physical distraction-free smartphone. Unfortunately, it failed to raise enough funds to move forward, but the creators were convinced they were nonetheless onto something.
“The Kickstarter campaign generated a lot of buzz but ultimately not enough sales to give us the confidence we needed to move forward with manufacturers,” Dunn said. “We were very early to the game and underestimated both the switching costs and variance in personal preference for ‘must have’ apps. A couple weeks into the campaign, it was hard to ignore the drumbeat of potential backers asking for a launcher version which would allow them to simulate 95 percent of the Siempo experience on their existing devices.”
That, in the end, is what they have done. Right now, the app is available in beta in the Google Play Store. It’s free during the beta, although it may well move to a subscription model in the near future. An iOS version is also possibly in the works.