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Phonebloks: the concept for a modular smartphone

We live in a throwaway society, where products often aren’t made to last long, and generally aren’t easily fixable. Smartphones are a case in point, with the average handset being replaced by its owner within two years. With the Phonebloks concept, Dave Hakkens plans to change this short-term way of thinking about gadgets. Phonebloks is (or is at least imagined to be) a smartphone made up of modular elements: a display panel of your choosing, a battery pack of your choosing, a memory module of your choosing, and other components selected by you. This all means that if one individual component breaks it can be replaced without the need to throw away the whole unit and start again from scratch. Likewise, if you want to upgrade an individual component – your camera or your RAM, for example – then you simply buy the relevant blok and embed it in your handset. Phonebloks is just a concept at present, but it’s one that has been met with considerable interest from consumers around the world. Unfortunately, consumer demand will not be enough to make Phonebloks a reality, with hardware partners an absolute necessity if this is ever going to move from the drawing board to the real world. Still, it’s a great idea that deserves some attention.

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