Introducing Phonebloks: The DIY, modular smartphone concept

Nowadays, mobile phones only last a few years at most. Once something breaks within them, it is almost always too costly to replace or the phone is “œtoo old anyway“. This way, phones that are older than, say 4 or 5 years, will eventually become obsolete. especially in the case of ever evolving smartphones that just keep on getting, well, smarter.
Smartphones get replaced or thrown away, often only because on part is giving problems and you can‘t repair it or upgrade it.
What if there was a phone that could last longer than any other, because it is easy to simply replace or upgrade the broken part? Well, this is the idea with Phonebloks – an incredibly forward-thinking innovation that could change the future of mobile phones.
Phonebloks‘ concept is pretty straight forward. The phone itself is made up of detachable “˜bloks‘ (hence, the very obvious name). These “˜bloks‘ are connected to a base that locks everything together and which then makes a solid phone.
The whole concept is being billed as a “˜Modular Smartphone Concept‘.
The “˜bloks‘ each contain a different element, such as a battery, chipset, camera, gyroscope etc.
Because these blocks are so easily detachable, it is intended to be easy to fix  or upgrade that one specific thing if something breaks or becomes outdated.
That‘s not the only benefit of Phonebloks, however. Because of it‘s Lego concept – the phone has been likened to building Lego blocks by global media ( we‘re thinking Lego for adults) – it also gives you, the user, an opportunity to customize your phone to whatever you want it to be.
If you‘re a keen photographer or simply like taking selfies every hour, you can upgrade your camera. Say you need more battery life instead of storage – simply replace your storage “˜blok‘ with a bigger battery “˜blok‘.
The idea is quite revolutionary and will give end users an input in a truly, personally-tailored mobile phone.
However, the biggest intention with the Phonebloks concept, is to reduce e-waste. Millions upon millions of phones and their parts get thrown away each year and it‘s damaging the planet. By replacing, rather than trowing away, a broken or outdated module, the phone will last longer and so will the planet.
Phonebloks is intended to be developed on an open modular platform. This means that any company or developer can make “˜bloks‘ for the phone. This will also in turn give the consumer the option to decide which brand, company or developer they will support.

The entire angle with the open modular platform, is to get ordinary people, the end users, involved in the development. People will be able to share ideas and give feedback during the whole development process. A phone “œfor the people, by the people“ if you will. Very democratic.
However, nothing will be possible wit out the backing of a big company. And that they have. Motorola has signed on as a sponsor and to help develop the phone.
This is not as surprising, as Motorola has been working on a similar concept, in-house, for over a year. This project is called Project Ara.
No word yet if the phone will be marketed under the Motorola brand. But, with the not-so-healthy state of Motorola in the smartphone market, this might be the break, along with Project Ara, that they‘ve been waiting for.
Phonebloks is the brain-child of Dutch designer, Dave Hakkens. Hakkens came up with the idea after he took his really fancy (broken) camera apart, only to find that it was just the lens glass that was broken – and not the entire camera.
But, a phone call to the manufacturers left him frustrated as they told him they can‘t just fix the lens glass, but that he would have to replace the camera entirely. This left Hakkens a frustrated man, and, out of his frustration, the Phonebloks idea was born.
Phonebloks was then promoted through Thunderclap. Thuderclap is a “˜crowd speaking‘ platform that lets it‘s users donate their social reach on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to a project they support.
Hakkens originally intended to sign up 500 supporters on Thunderclap. But, to his amazement, and astonishing 950 000 people have pledged their support for the concept. That‘s quite a bit more than 500.
Phonebloks is not in production, yet. The company is building an open-source online platform where anyone can give advice or opinions in an effort to build the best possible phone.
Phonebloks has released a couple of videos explaining their plan.
The first video introduces the Phonebloks concept:

The follow-up, is on the next step and their involvement with Motorola:

Phonebloks could very well be the next big thing. To completely revolutionize the way in which mobile phones are made, you will need the support and input of the world. And it‘s seems they‘re right on track in doing so. #winning.
Check out Phonebloks‘ website at www.phonebloks.com