Phoneblok is not that ugly

Written by
  • 6 years ago
  • Posted: September 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm

There is a phone that could be coming your way; a phone that promises to be with you forever. A phone that will never need replacement, only upgrades. It also promises to save the environment by reducing phone generated wastes. It has been branded “the phone for the future”. I will recommend you to consider owning this phone immediately it gets main stream for two reasons: 1. It will enable you to always have the latest phone 2. It will help you become a geek. The only one reason to shy away from a phoneblok , according to Digital Trends, is that it is ugly; but I think Phoneblok is not that ugly as the user will be able to customize the casing

Phoneblok

Let’s set things straight. A phoneblok has nothing in common with adblocks. It has nothing to do with unlocking a phone neither does it have anything to do with blocking a stolen phone. But it has everything to do with building blocks. Designer Dave Hakkens created the Phonebloks concept as a response to the wastefulness of smartphones.

phoneblok-concept-video

A phoneblok is made of distinct parts that can be separated and jointed by the end user. What this means is that end users will be able to buy parts of a phone they need and assemble them blok by blok. You envy Lumia’s 41MP camera and Apple’s A7 processor? You will be able to buy these components separately, screw them in, and put a designer case for a cover. The best part about this is the ability to design your own phone using the parts you need and disregarding the parts you don’t. Digital trend describes the phoneblok concept as “based around a single pegboard. To add components, you have to fit them, puzzle-like, on the back. The display goes on the front and is also modular and easily replaceable.”

phoneblok-3-350x283

Motorola’s Moto X already allows users to replace the casing and customize the color. Phoneblok goes a step further and allows you to replace virtually every component of the phone. It is a keen to what we normally do (or used to do) with desktop computers. I remember I could easily upgrade my RAM, or my hard disk, or my processor by simply buying a new and bigger one whenever need arose.

Manufactures

Phoneblok brings with it a paradigm shift on phone manufacture. Instead of Samsung or Apple making complete phones, they will rather focus on making phone parts that can be purchased separately to be assembled by the consumer. Thus their promotion and focus will shift from whole phones to better parts e.g. processors, memory, camera, speakers, connectivity etc.Manufacturers will also have to put their differences aside and agree to create compatible parts for the phoneblok. This is a tall order as every manufacturer wants to pride themselves on unique and patented designs that sets them apart from the rest. Apple even decided to come up with its own size of the microSIM. Manufacturers will also be denied the easy profits they make by re-branding e.g. iPhone 5 to iPhone 5C and selling it as a new gadget year in year out.

The concept

This video (it has gone viral with more than 4 million views in only two days) demonstrate the fundamental concept behind the phoneblok. It describes how most phones are replaced due to a failure of one component, how replacing the whole phone contributes to electronic wastes, and outlines the benefits of being able to customize your phone. The video also wants your voice to be heard. Amazingly they have surpassed the target audience needed to make “our voices heard”.

The concept is tied to the idea of saving the environment but leaves me wondering; with high rate of technology change, won’t people be upgrading the parts at a higher rate than throwing away the whole phone after two years? Where will the old components go? Recycling?

Are you interested in a phoneblok?

Below is an interesting comment:

seanrm92 The Phoneblok is an interesting idea that probably came from a brilliant young entrepreneur, but I think that video is over-selling it a bit. Disregarding the fact that it’s design is too simple to actually work (every component uses the exact same connectors?), it probably won’t solve the problems facing the cell phone market. It won’t be cheaper–they’ll just set the price of the components to meet demand as per usual. It won’t reduce waste–consumer electronics are not designed to last long and it would be naive to think that Phoneblok would be an exception. And it won’t really improve competition or variety in the market, since there is a huge variety of cell phones on the market already that meet a wide variety of needs.
What is your opinion on the topic?
Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Analytics Ltd
Film Director, Tech and Business Blogger, Chess Player, and Photographer. God is Science.
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