Phonebloks – Neat Idea That’ll Never Happen

I recently came across a fun idea for a new cell phone concept called Phonebloks and it is something that I don’t think will ever happen.

phoneblok-concept-video

It is basically a cell phone with easy to replace parts. The idea really appeals to me, though I’m not a fan of the demonstration form factor shown below as I’d rather the blocks be contained inside a shell of some sort rather than being exposed.

This is a must watch video if you are interested in cell phones:

With this phone, designed slightly differently, and a flexible operating system, I think it would be a super enjoyable device to have. The idea of creating a personalized phone with less processor speed, and more battery is interesting to me. I would love to see if it would allow me to take out bluetooth, the gyroscope, etc, and and have a bigger and better antenna. I could see people carrying around all kinds of custom configurations that best meet their needs.

Custom cell phones may happen in the next few years, where we, as the consumer, get to decide more than just the colour of the devices we get, but I doubt it’ll look exactly like the Phonebloks platform. If you lost a block, or the connectors weren’t entirely firm, or the different upgrades were too expensive, or the operating system wasn’t flexible enough to deal with certain configurations, you would have a serious dud on your hands and hardware manufacturers won’t take that risk.

But, despite all of the potential drawbacks, difficulties and problems, it is still an exciting idea in my mind.

6 comments

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  1. WTL

    That’s certainly a curious idea. The connectors would have to be well-engineered to not wear out, break easily, survive noobs, and manage the data to be pushed through them.. And, I think the phone would end up costing much, much more than a regular phone.

    So far, I haven’t actually had a phone fail on me, so I don’t see the appeal of replacing bits and pieces.

    • David Peralty

      For me, I guess what I’d like is a phone I could customize the build of before it was shipped to me, and have it stay that way until I send it back to get “upgraded”/”re-customized”.

      • David Peralty

        Yeah, not having your phone would suck, but the “upgrade” should be quick, right? Like visiting the Apple store, they take your device, go in the back, swap out a few things, tighten screws, put a nice “case” back on, and out you go.

  2. Chris

    That’s exactly what the Desktop PC market used to look like. Joe Public doesn’t want to have to select components or even fix anything they just want a nice shiny product, and that doesn’t even have to work properly as they’ll blame themselves for poorly performing product!

    • David Peralty

      I think for the general market of consumers, you are completely correct. Most people just buy their laptops or computers stock from the manufacturer they’ve selected, and never look back. It became this way because the average user doesn’t know what a RAM is. 😉 Nor do they understand things on their cell phones either. I get that. But I do believe that electronics are TOO disposable right now…

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