A new startup has been making the rounds on social media in the past week, which promises to reinvent the mobile phone. Phonebloks is an idea which revolves around a device which will last your whole life. It's an elegant solution to the masses of electronic waste produced around the world from devices which are not made to last. While this will be a huge technical feat if they can pull it off, it may also lead the big tech companies to rethink the way devices are designed.
The phone is based around modules (bloks) attached to a central board. Bloks come in multiple sizes, and can be arranged in many ways, so if, for example, you want a really long battery life, but don't have the need for a camera, you can purchase a bigger battery blok to take up the space a camera blok would of, or just choose a smaller, cheaper camera module. Even the screen can be replaced. Everyone's phone will be different depending on their priorities. When the next generation of processors are produced, users can simply switch out their old one, for a new one. This saves the cost of buying an all new smartphone every year, which may come with features you don't need or want.
Another huge advantage comes when your device breaks. If a screen cracks, you can replace it yourself without paying hefty repair fees, which once again reduces waste considerably.
Different brands can build their own modules; for example, Canon could build cameras, Bose speakers, and Nike accelerometers for fitness. If this platform was to lift off, everyone could be completely unique in the phone they own, and instead of seeing the same old iPhones and Galaxys everywhere, devices can have a little bit of personality.
There will of course be some serious technical limitations to the idea, as building a phone isn't as simple as just connecting lots of neat components. Different bloks may also not be compatible with each other, as a high-end camera needs a powerful processor too. Nevertheless, this is still an idea, and a fascinating and innovative one at that. We should all be very excited over its potential.