'Phonebloks' pitch video describes LEGO-like modular smartphone concept

I'm skeptical that Dave Hakkens' Phonebloks idea would work in the real world from an engineering standpoint, but it's a marvelous concept. [Video Link + website]

(Thanks, Joe Sabia)

Notable Replies

  1. Exceedingly cool and forward-thinking.


    1. It assumes a huge and ever-evolving component-product manufacturing stream (as chips get faster, cameras get more sensitive, new components are invented, etc).
    2. Could it be aided or hindered by release as an open standard to which component-makers could choose to subscribe?
    3. Form factors tend to evolve with human needs. Unless this platform can evolve in the same way, it's doomed to the same drawer as early-90s phonebricks.
  2. It's surprising he went this far without talking to an electrical engineer first....

  3. That's a really cool idea. Too bad it would never work.

    There are a bunch of reasons why this is a complete nonstarter. The biggest and most fundamental is that it basically requires every component in the system to share the same bus, and it has to be a very high speed high performance bus because the processor and graphics are on it as is the display. So you have to have an expensive bus communication chip inside every component, no matter how cheap and slow. Even the webcam and SD card reader. This means duplicating the same functionality dozens of times, which means dozens of expensive power hungry high speed bus chips in the system.

    Not only would your battery life be pants and the whole phone be slow, but it would cost a small fortune to build. Probably $2,000 or more when you factor in the costs of miniaturizing and packaging everything.

    I also fail to see how this reduces waste very much. All of the extra packaging alone for the different components would add a lot of waste, and most parts of the phone get refreshed every couple of years. You might get away with keeping the old webcam, but the battery will be shot for sure and the CPU will be slow and the antenna will have to be replaced because you're on LTE now instead of 3G, etc...

  4. KarlS says:

    All I want is a standardized battery suitable for a variety of modern phones, cameras, tablets, music players etc. that I can buy off the Energizer rack at the supermarket.

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