PhoneBloks: The iPhone Killer?
September 23, 2013

PhoneBloks: The iPhone Killer?

Another year, another predictable iPhone update. For as much credit as people give Apple for “innovating,” it certainly seems like they’re not even trying anymore. Personally, I imagine the team at Apple, when asked about what they wanted to do with the new iPhone, half-heartedly slung their head back and said “Oh, a bigger camera here, maybe a faster processor there, yeah whatever; oh and this time lets make them in different colors that will still be covered up.” Even Jimmy Kimmel got it right when he said it was like the royal baby for us. We’ve seen it all these features before, but because it wasn’t Apple overcharging us, it just wasn’t the same.

And just in case you thought it couldn’t get any worse for Apple, some brilliant nerds go and steal their thunder. Just hours after the announcement for the new iPhones were made, the guys behind PhoneBloks launched their trailer, gaining over 1,500,000 views within the first hours alone. With views like, this ship is sure to not sink right? Well… maybe.

So, what is Phonebloks anyway? Well, at the moment it is just an idea, but seems to be a fairly solid one. Based around the idea of reducing electronic waste, it is a customizable phone that lets you swap out and replace your old parts for newer ones, connected to the board by electronic pins. How customizable you ask? From what has been released so far, everything. Use a lot of storage, upgrade your storage block. Need a longer battery, upgrade the battery block, so on with the only foreseeable downside being arrangement on the board can quickly turn into a Jenga puzzle as you try to get all the components on. And just to sweeten the pot even more, there’s the promise of both open source and being able to select different brands, although what brands will be participating is another thing. And while the possibility of having a dual boot smart phone intrigues me to no end, I do see a few problems.

I really want this to succeed, but I do see a few issues with this idea. The first is how they plan to address the issue of advancing technology. It’s no secret we’re getting better at making more fit into less, and so on. So, what will happen when the chips we put on that take up half of our available pins are now half the size? And what will happen if the board has an open component slot? Another issue is what’s holding it together (literally), because at the moment the only thing keeping it from falling apart is two screws at the bottom that would be better fitted for glasses. I get what the general idea is, but still if you’re having open ports, you should at least think of some kind of backing for all of this. And that raises my final issue: the cases. At the moment there is a bit of a dilemma, sacrifice the awesome camera for a case that works and lets you use said camera of lesser quality. I think the solution would be simple enough though; just use 3D print custom cases.

So, to TL:DR (too long, didn’t read) this all up, it seems like an awesome concept. If it got the right people behind it and stuck to its core concepts, it could go far. But at the same time all it would take is one small stumble for this to become something equivalent to the eNGage or the Sony Ericson. How will this turn out? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Image Credit: PhoneBloks

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