Phonebloks Concept Brings Modular PC Idea to Smartphones
If you’re a power user, chances are that no phone on the market currently will fit your needs. You may want the Nokia Lumia 1020′s 41-megapixel camera sensor along with the design of Apple’s iPhone 5s and the active digitizing touchscreen of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Fortunately, a concept called Phonebloks aims to do just that by bringing modular, upgrade-able components to mobile phones.
The idea is not dissimilar to how PCs work where you can upgrade, add, or swap different components. Want a faster processor? You can now do that on a mobile phone by swapping out the CPU rather than having to buy a whole new phone. That old WVGA display resolution getting dated? Just swap out the screen for a new 1080p full HD phone.
Admittedly, with replaceable components, the phone would be built around serviceability and won’t have a sleek exterior that we’re used to with sealed phones like the HTC One and the iPhone where even the memory and battery are sealed inside to keep the design slim. What you trade off in form you gain in functionality with Phoneblok as you can readily replace broken displays or upgrade internal components. And a nice side effect is that in doing so, users are only replacing the broken components rather than throwing their entire devices away so the environment will also benefit.
While the idea is nice, I am not sure how compact or nice the overall design could be, so this may be an idea that may need to be refined over time.
Also, with components users can swap, the phone market may get unnecessarily complex as well. Users will probably be subjected to drivers and software to make all the various hardware parts work together, and just like on a PC we may have situations of conflicting hardware.
You can visit the campaign page to learn more about Phonebloks. Right now, it sounds like it’s still a social campaign rather than a financial one that asks users to fund the concept with money. Phonebloks wants to create awareness, and likely the company will pitch the idea to a larger manufacturer.