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At MWC 2024, this smartphone company is fighting for privacy and consumer choice

The Punkt MC02 promises to protect your data at a monthly subscription fee.
By

Published onFebruary 27, 2024

TL;DR
  • The Punkt MC02 phone is now available for purchase at a price of $749.
  • It features middling hardware but puts a strong focus on data privacy.
  • The device is now available in Europe and North America.

You may not have heard of Punkt, but of all the usual smartphone brands on the MWC 2024 show floor, it’s the only one doing things differently. The Punkt MC02 is a new privacy-focused phone you can now purchase in Europe and North America. First introduced in November 2023, the Punkt phone is only now starting to ship to its first set of customers — a niche group of smartphone users who value choice and want complete control over the data their handsets put out in the world.

The Punkt MC02 runs on an operating system called Apostrophy. It’s based on Graphene OS, another privacy-conscious operating software you might have heard about. Apostrophy builds upon the foundation of Graphene OS and adds its own secure apps to the phone, such as contacts, storage, email, files, tasks, and more. It also offers a Digital Nomad VPN app to protect browsing data.

A Carbon and Data Ledger lets you control what and how much data individual apps can share. So you can allow or block an app from sharing your personal data, hardware peripherals (mic, camera, etc), and network permissions depending on your use case.

The data from all the Apostrophy apps is stored in servers located in Switzerland, no matter where you use the phone. The EU is famous for its strict data protection laws, and that’s why the company insists on banking data on Swiss servers.

That said, Punkt users also have an option of downloading the Google Play Store and all the apps that come with it. The company says users can do this at their own risk, and the phone issues a privacy warning when you install the Play Store for the first time. By default, it simply includes an installer for the Play Store and doesn’t have any of the usual Google apps onboarded to begin with.

Punkt MC02 specs and price

Punkt MC02 Apostrophe OS
Adamya Sharma / Android Authority

Since the software is the main focus of the Punkt MC02, the hardware feels lacking. The device features a 6.67-inch IPS display with a 2,400 x 1,080 resolution, a MediaTek Dimensity 900 octa-core processor, 6GB RAM, and 128GB expandable storage (up to 2TB). It gets three rear cameras, including a 64MP primary sensor, an 8MP wide-angle lens, and a 2MP macro shooter. Up front is a 24MP selfie shooter.

Clearly, Punkt is not aiming for the moon with the specs given that software is the real attraction of this package. The only question is — how many people will actually decondition themselves from the way they use their smartphones to adopt the privacy approach Punkt is touting?

The Punkt MC02 costs $749/€699 and comes with a free one-year subscription to Apostrophy OS. Once that ends, users will have to pay an equivalent of 14.99 Swiss francs (~$17) to use Apostrophy’s secure services. Users can also opt out of Apostrophy OS and discontinue their subscriptions, which will revoke their access to Apostrophy’s apps and secure data storage services.