Modular phone design is something that has yet to really grab the imagination. The principle is certainly sound. You can add keyboards, choose the design of the case, and even opt for the most appropriate size of screen. Essentially, you can create the phone that would have built if you had the seemingly unlimited funds of somebody like Google. However, there are some inherent problems with the idea. A phone can only offer so much modular design before it becomes a laptop, and parts that click in and out run the risk of becoming damaged.
Recently, Phonebloks was announced. It looks a bit like Lego but it enables you to make calls, play games, use apps, and text, just like a smartphone does. It turns out that Dutch designer Dave Hakkens has also been in cahoots with Google and Motorola chiefs because Motorola has announced that they will be launching something that is very similar.
Project Ara would provide owners with an endoskeleton, which is really only a framework for the phone. Buyers can then choose everything from the processor they want to the right screen. You can even add additional batteries, which may prove useful for power users that don’t mind carrying a brick around with them.
The modular design would enable owners to be able to upgrade parts of their phone one at a time. If a new, better quality screen is launched, then you can buy it and replace your old one. When a new, smarter battery is launched, you can swap out your old one of these, too.
Replacing a damaged screen or battery can prove more than a little troubling with some of the current crop of mobile phones and, in this respect at least, Project Ara could prove extremely useful.