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Phonebloks: the ultimate modular phone concept

Phonebloks aims to be the “phone worth keeping”, but for now, it’s just an idea that needs your support.

Published onSeptember 11, 2013

phonebloks modular phone
Some people look for the slightest resemblance of an excuse to replace their smartphones. The volume rocker is too squishy? I can’t use this piece of junk anymore! On to Amazon…

Others, like this writer, like to hold on to their beloved devices, even if they don’t have the latest tech anymore, sometimes to the point where they become slightly embarrassing to use in public.

Phonebloks, a concept that just debuted on the Thunderclap crowd-speaking platform (yes, there is such a thing) is dedicated to people in the latter category, those smartphone users that look for a device that lasts for many years, not just 12 to 24 months.

Put simply, Phonebloks is a modular device concept – each major component is a module, or a block, and users can simply swap modules in case of malfunction or just to update. Everything’s explained quite well in this video:

Keep in mind that Phonebloks is nothing more than a concept. Even though its creator, Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, already accomplished his goal of spreading the word about it, it’s likely that Phonebloks will never be more than just a dream.

There are quite a few potential problems with the concept, from technical (for instance, what kind of universal interface can support all those modules?) to economic (how much it costs to make a, say, camera module?).

At a time when users, manufacturers say, don’t even want SD card slots on their devices, it’s hard to believe that Phonebloks will ever move from the drawing board. But it’s still an interesting idea that resonates with many users.

So what’s next? Dave Hakkens hopes that Phonebloks will eventually draw interest from investors and manufacturers. The Thunderclap campaign has already garnered over 50,000 supporters, and is set to continue until October 29, when a wave synchronized tweets and posts will blast across Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter.

What’s your take?

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