One of the problems with smartphones is that they’re inherently disposable. They’re simply not built to last more than two years, because at the end of the two year cycle, you buy a new phone. But how sustainable is that, environmentally or financially? Phonebloks has a better idea.
Here’s the video pitch, but if you’re at work, it’s basically a Lego phone. You pop in the parts you want, and pop off the parts you don’t; instead of buying a whole phone, you just swap out parts as convenient to you, or buy new ones, and configure your phone the way you want it.
The problem is the exceptionally odd way they’re going about promoting it. Essentially, they’re calling it crowdspeaking, where, using a platform, a whole bunch of people post about it automatically all at once. In other words, they’re trying to annoy you into awareness.
Which is a shame because this isn’t an idea that needs gimmicks. It seems like something that would appeal fairly keenly to nerds such as myself, who’d rather keep spare parts lying around in case something breaks on my phone, and that would probably be enough to get the platform started, and to spread as it became clear that, hey, cheap phone. Mobile carriers mostly care, these days, that you’re on contract, not that you buy a phone from them. It also seems like a slam-dunk concept for stores such as Radio Shack and Best Buy; a phone with components you can upsell until the end of time? Of course they want that.
So, hopefully this “thunderclap” or crowdspeaking or whatever doesn’t ruin this idea. A modular phone is something we could all really use.