One of the things we were most impressed about when it came to the new Moto X phone was the customisability. You could really make that phone your own. But what if you could go further than that and replace not just the case and colour, what if you could choose the size of your battery, the features you had and the processor you wanted as simply as ordering a pizza? Meet Phoneblocks: the future of buying a smartphone.
Phoneblocks is based on a simple concept: we waste too much crap, especially when it comes to gadgets. Often, we throw out whole devices just because one component is broken. That, and it’s just so inexpensive to upgrade to the latest and greatest these days. As a result, we’re throwing away devices and gadgets at a record rate, all of which with poisonous materials that seep into the environment, with the potential to screw it up almost permanently.
That’s where Phoneblocks comes in. Rather than replace your whole phone because the screen got smashed while you were drunk or the camera suddenly doesn’t work anymore, it advocates that you just buy a replacement module and keep the rest of the phone that isn’t broken.
This concept also has huge potential for future upgrades. Rather than throw out the iPhone to upgrade to the 5c or the 5s, for example, just buy the new processor module from Apple and a cool new coloured case. Instead of pining for a 41-megapixel, Lumia 1020-style camera, just buy one and slap it onto the board.
Even more interestingly, it brings in the idea of total customisability when it comes to your smartphone: no two devices would ever be different. Fancy a giant whacking battery and don’t really care about storage? Slap one on there and keep everything in the cloud? Want more RAM and less camera? Buy a bigger module! Fancy a huge battery and massive camera? Get it on there! Need a big bright screen but not much else? Go buy one!
It’s a simple and beautiful concept, but sadly, it’s a bridge too far for most mobile providers.
It means that vendors would first need to agree on a standard for making phones which they can’t do at the best of times when it comes to stuff like SIM card sizing (read: iPhone 5’s nanoSIM versus everyone else using a microSIM). It would also require vendors to surrender their unique points of difference, which companies like Apple and Samsung pride themselves on.
Hopefully, the concept of Phoneblocks stays out there long enough that it can support itself as a company, rather than trying to form a consortium of vendors. That way we can finally have the first sustainable Android handset manufacturer on the planet. Shut up and take my money.