What started out as a pipe dream is almost a reality and we seem to be at that stage when we need even more hands to dig in. Phonebloks is now putting out a call to industry players to put their expertise and, of course, products for the benefit of the modular smartphone.
When Phonebloks released its very first video, which was nothing more than a concept and an exhortation, it set off a chain of events that has sparked its most popular manifestation yet: Google’s Project Ara. There are, of course, other players in that field, including ZTE’s Eco-Mobius, Xiaomi’s Magic Cube, and even the Blocks smartwatch. While Project Ara has taken center stage, Phonebloks still plays a major role as the community hub for these disparate modular campaigns. And now it is putting that position to good use to call for others to join in.
According to Phonebloks, there are three things needed to make the modular smartphone a reality. The first is the demand for such a thing, which was somewhat proven by the vocal support given to Project Ara, though it still has to be proven in the real market. The second is a platform, which once again is already being partially answered by Google. The third and equally important part is an ecosystem of modules that will make a modular smartphone practical and functional. For this, more members of the industry are needed. Phonebloks has specifically named audio equipment maker Sennheiser as one of those interested in dipping its toes in this rather novel field. Google has likely gathered a rolodex of names and brands at its first Project Ara Conference last month.
It is quite interesting to note that the video pitch above gives a glimpse of Phonebloks’ bigger dream, of which a modular smartphone is only the beginning. It envisions an even greater modular world, where you can swap out components of monitors, laptops, and even washing machines. Of course, we are quite far away from such a future, and even a modular tablet still seems like a distant dream, but Phonebloks and Project Ara are already taking the not-so-baby first steps to get there.