This Blackberry-style phone with an E-Ink screen wants to fix your scrolling addiction

A Minimal phone sitting on a table
(Image credit: Minimal)

The Rabbit R1 recently went viral with its post-smartphone design and voice-driven interface – and now a minimalist concept phone has similarly promised to save us from endless doomscrolling.

The suitably named Minimal Phone, which will be part of a crowdfunding campaign that starts in early February, looks like a cross between a Blackberry, Amazon Kindle, and a Microsoft Zune. The phone's tagline "live more, scroll less" describes the idea – it wants to be smart (running on a custom version of Android), but in a way that doesn't make us feel constantly distracted.

That's far from a new concept  – the Punkt MP02 arrived a few years ago with a similarly minimalist, modern 'dumb phone' idea, as did the Light Phone 2. And it's still very early days for the Minimal Phone, with all of the usual caveats about crowdfunded tech applying here. But it does bring some interesting ideas that could help it garner a niche audience.

For a start, it has both an E-ink display and a QWERTY keyboard. That potentially means speedy typing for those who still miss their Blackberry, and a claimed four-day battery life. It'll also apparently recharge from 0-80% in only thirty minutes and fully recharge in an hour. The capacitive screen is backlit to help make it visible in the dark, too.

What we haven't yet seen in action is the MinimalOS, which is a custom version of Android. But from the first images, that OS has echoes of the Microsoft Zune's interface, only one that's designed for E-ink screens. It seems you'll still get widgets that show you the weather and a 'to do' list, but no app icons – just simple shortcuts to basic functions.

Still, there is some extra complexity beneath the surface. According to a Reddit AMA with Andre Youkhna (Founder of The Minimal Company), the Minimal Phone will support RCS messages and YouTube Music, plus the downloading of some apps from the Play Store. But its maker is only "exploring 5G technology", so that's far from guaranteed.

In that AMA, Youkhna says the Minimal Phone's expected retail price will be $400 (around £315 / AU$610), putting it firmly in mid-range territory. But there'll also apparently be early bird offers for its first bold backers on that imminent crowdfunding campaign.

Another post-iPhone contender?

A Minimal phone sitting on a table

(Image credit: Minimal)

Right now, the Minimal Phone is more of an intriguing concept than an actual mid-range prospect. There is still a lot we don't know about it and crowdfunded gadgets have a very mixed record when it comes to delivering on their original promises. 

That said, the Minimal Phone's founder Andre Youkhna claims that they're "collaborating with one of the largest manufacturers in the industry" on the phone, which has helped enable Google certification and carrier support. 

Youkhna also says that the Minimal Phone's waitlist (which you can join now) means he's "highly confident in meeting production goals through a successful crowdfunding campaign". That remains to be seen, but it's certainly an idea that could strike a chord in a similar vein to the Punkt MP02 and Light Phone 2.

Realistically, these kinds of phones come with too many compromises to make them mainstream hits. But if the Minimal Phone manages to strike a balance between simplicity and modern functionality, it's one we're certainly looking forward to trying out if it does indeed make it to full production. 

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Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.