A NEW mobile phone company has given a whole new meaning to “customisable”.
Meet Phonebloks, a phone which lets you control the phone’s hardware, allowing users to pick and choose the parts of the phone according to their lifestyle.
The phone is made up of blocks which plug in to a base using pins that also carry electrical signals.
If you’re more concerned about processing power than photography, you simply choose a bigger battery and select a smaller camera. Prefer to store all your data in the cloud than on your phone, downgrade your memory. Photography buffs can select a better camera. It’s easy.
Phonebloks is designed to work on an open platform so that users can customise both the software and the hardware.
The downside is that at some point you’re going to have to make a sacrifice. Say if you want a better camera and more storage, you’re going to have to forgo battery life. What if you want all three? Eventually something has to give.
The upside is you’ll be helping to reduce waste across the globe.
Mobile phones are one of the biggest causes of waste around the world. Millions of electronic devices are thrown away every year because they don’t work anymore when usually it’s a single part that is causing the problem, but the cost of fixing it outweighs the cost of replacing the device.
Phonebloks is trying to change all that.
Dropped your phone and smashed the screen? Replace the screen. Rather than replacing your entire phone when the speed starts to lag or the camera isn’t fast enough, users can simply replace the part that is broken.
The potential for upgrades is massive too. Rather than replacing the entire unit the same way companies like Apple and Samsung expect us to when they release a new model, Phonebloks simply allow users to buy the new processor, or camera, or battery (for example), whack it into their existing phone and continue going about their daily business.
Phonebloks is designed to work on an open source operating system so that users can control the software and hardware of their phones. Picture: Phonebloks Source: Supplied
This also means transferring contacts and photos and all the other stuff on your phone will no longer be a problem as customers shall no longer be burdened with constantly moving their information from one device to the next.
Phonebloks is a fantastic, practical concept that solves multiple consumer needs while simultaneously reducing the amount of electronic waste that goes into landfill.
Founder, Dave Hakkens has even forgone copyright on the device. He has made the platform open for anyone to use.
The Blokstore is setup the same way as an app store, except for hardware.
“Third party companies can develop and build their books for the platform. In the bookstore they are sold and the money is divided between the companies and Phonebloks,” he wrote on the official Phonebloks website.
However, convincing other mobile phone providers is going to be a near impossible task.
Hakkens says he won’t be crowd-funding the venture because “setting up the platform is too big for one company”.
“We need to gather partners to work together with us,” he wrote on the official Phonebloks website.
Phonebloks is just what it sounds like, a fully customisable mobile phone made up of blocks that plug into a base that holds the phone together. Picture: Phonebloks Source: Supplied
Phonebloks requires investment from many manufacturers. It also needs someone to manage the platform. (Looking at you, Android).
Mobile companies would also need to agree to create standardised parts that can work across all mobile phones. There is almost no incentive for Apple and Samsung and Microsoft to stop making proprietary parts and start making parts that could plug into any phone regardless of brand. They can’t even agree on what size SIM cards should be, let alone all of the other pieces of hardware that go into their phones.
Phonebloks is a fantastic concept. But it requires mobile phone manufacturers to work together instead of against each other. And it’s unlikely that will ever happen.
Hopefully the concept is strong enough to outlast the current mobile wars. Better yet, Hakkens and his team need to find a way to fund their own company and bring Phonebloks to market.
Or else they’re going to be waiting a long time for the big three to step up and be the bigger man.