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Phonebloks: The first fully customisable smartphone

  • The new viral sensation
  • Build your customer mobile phone
  • The smartphone of the future?
Written by Katarina Matic
14/09/2013

Phonebloks is the first fully customisable smartphone which allows users to chop and change almost every facet of their device and tailor it to their liking. Like the name suggest, Phonebloks is comprised of many different blocks, specifically mobile phone building blocks. If a part of your phone breaks or becomes faulty you can remove that block and replace it with a new one. The idea is rather than buy a completely new mobile phone, users can upgrade specific parts.

The concept of Phonebloks resonates with many smartphone users. Too often have we broken our smartphone’s camera, experienced a decline in our battery life or upgraded to a phone with higher data memory. In most cases it is simply one aspect of the phone that needs replacing, fixing or upgrading, but we dispose of the entire phone and opt for a brand new one instead.

Phonebloks aims to deal with this problem through a unique and creative solution. Currently no other smartphone provider allows users to easily and affordably replace specific parts. Phonebloks creator, Dave Hakkens, hopes to change this. As electronic waste steadily increases, a phone that lasts more than a few years should definitely be the way of the future. Hakkens points out that today’s mobile phones and other devices are not designed to last. His solution aims to change this by “show[ing] the world there’s a need for a phone worth keeping”.

The Phonebloks concept extends further than just being a longer lasting smartphone. If developed, users will be able to customise the blocks to suit their own specific needs. For example, users who do not use much storage and do everything in the cloud could replace their storage block with a larger battery block. Or users who like to take photos could organise their blocks to fit a larger camera block. Each block could be purchased from the “Blok-Store” and each user could essentially build their own smartphone.

Hakken even goes as far as to propose that users select from specific brands of bloks, requiring major smartphone manufactures to work together to develop a multiplatform smartphone. User would be able to choose blocks from the brands and manufactures they liked, trusted and wanted to support. It would also open a market for entrepreneurs to design their own blocks. This part of the concept is where Hakken will find difficulty gaining support. Currently phone manufacturers compete against each other to design the most profitable phone; Hakken’s Phonebloks requires them to work together.

Hakken has taken the task of generating cooperation, interest and investment to social media. So far the cause has gained a lot of traction and support. A two minute Phonebloks video has become the newest viral sensation on YouTube, gaining more than 5 million views in three days. Hakken has also enlisted the help of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to spread the word. Through these social media outlets Hakken hopes to have people all over the world post their support online at the same time and spread the word virally. So far 437,841 have shown their support which would reach an estimated 168,473,350 amount of people.
Phonebloks is a genius concept that not only puts the user’s wants and needs first, but also works towards creating a more environmentally sustainable device. It will be interesting to see if the idea ever becomes reality.

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