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Are Modular Phones The Future?

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posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 03:37 PM
reply to post by Scaleru

Home-fabricated PhoneBloks. Now that's a mind-boggling development!

posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 07:14 PM
Not only should phones be like this but so should computers. Instead of repeatedly dumping old phones and computers in to land fills, instead of having major problems with compatibility, instead of getting ripped off buying things we don't need, developers in both industries could have agreed to build to a certain specification and made it easy for people to upgrade.

In fact that's a difficult task, and people are more inclined to toss out a whole unit simply because they want to upgrade one small part, and/or they have a need for a different OS, different tech specs and have to give up whatever they are using at the time.

This could really be a viable way to make electronic equipment that is compatible across the board. A way to reduce waste and bring back the culture of upgrading. (Which was lost many moons ago.)

posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 12:37 AM
Great to see such interest in a project like this. I think the best option for a device like this is to consider the main board (the central piece) a universal high speed bus. The CPU/ram/main park block (as there probably isn't a way to separate these components with current tech) would have to have a predetermined position, where everything else can be interchangeable.

Which leads me to my second concern in this regard. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of connecting technology? Is it feasible to have a board consisting or randomly positioned and connected components on a 4 pin bus? Can the connections even be considered both in and out until the system determined which, if any, they are? It may be a better option to have plugs on flexible cables which can then be hidden, and consider the central board more of a chassis than a breadboard.

Anyone with electrical engineering experience that can provide insight?

posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 12:56 AM
It's smart thinking but we live in a consumer driving economy so that won't fly. Obsolence is built into everything and they want you to throw it out and get a new one. Also I see a problem with it. I like my iphone cuz it's tough. It take a beating. It's like a rock. That thing would fall apart

posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 04:35 AM
reply to post by Scaleru

Give it a sleek and elegant looking design and I would buy it this instant.

To answer your question, no, it probably is not the future. I think the future is with ideas such as google glass. Tech that you do not need to hold in your hands. A ring that projects a holographic image, a little block that projects a screen, keyboard and whatever you need.
All in all, the future lies in new technologies, not spliting their insides up into manageable and replaceable blocks. The idea is great, but something tells me the companies have no interrests in making less money.

posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 11:25 AM
I hope this goes to market, the phones on the market today are way to easy to break. Having a photo where it's crucial components are interchangeable is good for consumers.

posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 11:56 AM
Excellent idea. We need PC's, TV's and video game consoles like this, too.

posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 12:10 PM
reply to post by violet

Almost any phone becomes a pile of junk if dropped. At least this one would allow you to replace just the pieces that fail after the drop, instead of the whole phone.

I very much agree with you that the wireless phone companies are all about getting you to dump your old phone for the newest kid on the block, and it is all about upgrade and extend your contract. Their primary goal is to keep you paying as much money as they can con you into paying every month for as long as they can.

Companies used to be about customer loyalty and they courted you with respect and perks. Now they play us against each other for the latest "wow" & jealousy factor. Now it is all about being the coolest kid on the block with latest and greatest electronic device. Bling it own! We have shown that we are willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money, repeatedly, over very short periods of time, just to have maybe one person you happen to run into, one time, for a split second, say "Wow! I wish I could have the _____ (fill in the blank) you have!"

They no longer have to be concerned about pleasing their customers or even producing a good product. All they have to do is make sure the product can be marketed as the one thing that everybody wants or wishes they could have. We do the rest and we pay very dearly for it in more ways than we know, or want to know. We can only blame ourselves for their greed and shady practices. We feed their greed with our envy.

posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 12:17 PM
I'm a product designer and this is a brilliant step into a great idea!
I would absolutely buy one. Period.

It's also a great way to tech society a better way to think about things in this throw away culture. Habits can change and they will.

posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 01:26 PM
Somewhat similar, but not taking modularity that far, is Jolla.
This is the company that split off from Nokia before Microsoft took over.

The modularity is realized through two halves that can be combined. One halve has the basic functions and then you add a second halve depending on your current need: A high quality camera, an extra battery pack, a second screen, whatever 3rd companies may come up with...

This is not phantasy, the product is real and should be shipping end of 2013 or beginning 2014. I will definitely have a closer when it comes out. To me this looks like an excellent compromise between full modularity and the advantages of smartphones we have come to like (size, stability, weight, etc.)

posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 03:14 PM
reply to post by Scaleru

Sadly companies like ATT,Verizon, LG, etc will try to destroy this idea because it means that they will lose money. Other companies like RadioShack, Bestbuy, etc will also try to destroy it because it means that people will stop buying phones and will just buy upgrades instead and because they can't charge extra money/lie to us when there is a problem with the phone.

As much as we love this idea, this won't make it.....unless WE the consumers do something about it!


posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 03:48 PM
reply to post by Kuroodo

A kickstarter campaign would probably do the trick. Kickstarter has eliminated the need for a middleman, and easily works around other big companies, with the direct connection between company and customers.

posted on Sep, 15 2013 @ 05:36 PM
reply to post by needlenight

Unfortunately, Kickstarter probably wouldn't be the best option. Have you read their terms and conditions? If a project like that was to upload their information to Kickstarter and request donations to start it off, it would require millions in the least. According to their terms of use, if the project doesn't achieve the requested donation amount, they don't receive it. Any of it.

As to what happens to the money, I'm not entirely certain, as this little tidbit put me off their site entirely. Perhaps there is someone else who has thoroughly read the document?

In regards to the device, after some long thinking, a breadboard style system probably isn't within our current technological scape. However, developing it like a modern tower pc probably is. That is to say, use the central piece as framework. Your "speed" module, as the video/site calls it, could be incorporated as the mobo/cpu/ram, from which run a series of high speed cables to interact with the other optional modules. This would make it much simpler and easier to develop, at least as a prototype.

In regards to profits, why do you think they will be lost? A screen these days for a phone costs around $35 (to the end user that is). When these components become commonplace and easily replaceable, this cost may increase to take up the slack. And since parts will be more common to replace, they will sell more of them. A complete phone today may cost $600, but a complete equivalent phone in the modular system may cost upwards of $1,000. That $35 screen? Try $80.

All just rambling thoughts unfortunately, but as the general reaction appears to be, I hope it becomes reality soon enough.

posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 08:58 AM
Seems like a great idea to me but one thing they don't mention in the video is how they plan on repairing / installing new blocks into the phones after someone breaks one or customizes one. Obviously if you customize it before you buy it, there's no problem. But if you break it and need something fixed, there needs to be a simple way to get it fixed - in other words, if a company was started, it would need to be pretty massive; considering the fact that it would need to be able to cover repairs on phones nationwide / internationally - whatever scale these people are looking at. I don't know about you, but I sure as hell wouldn't want to mail my phone in somewhere to get a block fixed that would take 5 minutes to do... But here's the other issue, I'm assuming most people watching this video are pretty "tech savvy" and would have relatively few problems putting one of these phones together. However, and elderly woman sitting in a rocking chair who "just wants a simple phone with larger speakers" ? Yea... right... lol

Only time will tell. Overall I think it's a really cool idea but also sort of a pointless one, my guess is something else will come out soon that will completely make mobile phones look like ancient technology. Just like the rotatory pay phones they used to have up all over the place 20 years ago. Pretty hard to find one of those anymore.

posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 02:52 PM

It would be great but the problem is money and greed. You have stores throwing out good food just because they can not sell it (a day away from expiry) and high repair costs for elecronics to the point where its better to buy a new one. There is no money in easy to fix/upgrade tecnology, they want you to spend $100-300 on a new phone instead of $20-60. If they thought they could get away with it, they would seal the battery in with superglue!

There was good money in laptop repairs a good decade ago - I've got an old laptop's that around 10 years old now (Dual-core Intel 2.8Ghz, 1200x1050 screen, DVD player, GeForce Go5600). I replaced the screen, the keyboard, the screen lid-closed detection board, the CPU/GPU cooling fan. The screen was the expensive part - the replacement was just about half the cost of the laptop and you had to send in the old screen to get a discount.

But that company went out of business, after the consumer advice programs that told customers it wasn't worth buying a £2000 computer to last four years, when you could buy a completely new system every year for £600.

I've worked on systems that used the "podule" concept. Each component (GPU/video card), (CPU + battery backed memory), (disk drive) had a single connector carrying power, data/address lines. A user could simply upgrade their system by slotting in a new podule next to the CPU. And that was 20 years ago.

Back then, there were also electronics kits that worked on the same principle, the Gakken EX-150

Gakken EX-150

Imagine if every component like a CPU or memory chip were placed in a square or hexagon with a pair of connectors on each side pointing upwards and downwards (that way they can be removed and inserted individually).

posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 02:54 PM
reply to post by Scaleru

Off topic but. I believe if a kickstarter campaign fails. The money is refunded to whoever donated. Maybe I am wrong? Send me a pm if anyone knows.

Sorry for the off topic. This shall be the first and last time.

posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 08:46 PM
reply to post by Scaleru

Wow...that is really neat! I'd totally get one to replace my already outdated Android.

posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 09:03 PM
reply to post by TDawgRex

I think the problem could be alleviated by simply adding a back to the phone to cover all the blocks, and having the screws both screw into that and the blocks to hold everything together. That way the blocks are still in place, but it has a back cover like any other phone so that the pieces are less likely to come off.

posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 10:08 PM
If it runs Open Source software I'd be all for it. If Microsoft were to sponsor it, well, I don't need one.

Great idea, and I could see say, plugging a full size keyboard and a flatscreen, and having a portable PC as well. Wait.....That's a tablet.

posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 10:30 PM
I don't think this will ever sell, I actually think it would be a BIG flop.

a) Manufacturers don't *want to* build something which lasts 2x or 3x longer, why would they shoot themselves in the foot?

b) consumers, especially APPLE consumers are hardly "rational". They do not buy a cell phone because it "lasts" or is economical or whatever other rational reason. A cell phone becomes "obsolete" in two years and then consumers WANT a new cell-phone, and they are WILLING to spend $500 something on a cell-phone even when a phone 3 gens back *basically* would do an equally good job. Heck, even a Nokia from 12 years ago would be suitable if one just needs a mobile phone.

Since there is a "beautiful" symbiosis of (stupid) consumers and phone makers, a "modular" phone will likely have no market whatsoever.

The other issue is that a cell-phone usually gets lost or breaks in certain ways:

* It is lost or stolen. The consumer will buy an entire new phone anyway. If the modular phone is lost or stolen, the fact it's modular will not bring it back
(I personally think the number of lost/stolen phones is higher than those who break)

* It falls from moderate height and then it's likely that the DISPLAY breaks and not any other parts like chips etc, those don't easily break. If the display breaks, chances are the price advantage of a modular phone compared to a "normal" phone is not that big...the display would probably the biggest expense. It is UNLIKELY that a phone breaks with the display intact and only a $0.50 part broke that can be replaced cheaply.

* A phone breaks and it breaks ENTIRELY. Like..picture a car driving over a phone and smashing it etc..or the phone is tossed out a window. I don't think that the modular phone would provide an advantage, so or so, both kinds of phones would be more or less beyond repair.

* Having a cell-phone "that lasts 5 or more years" is not exactly a positive thing for people who buy cell-phones, especially iPhones. They HARDLY want tech that is 3 years behind other people. If so, people would still have iPhones 1st or 2gen and not spend $500 on every new gen.

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