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Here’s why the Phonebloks modular smartphone might not happen

September 17th, 2013 at 5:15 PM
Phonebloks Viability Questioned

Last week’s most surprising phone announcement wasn’t anything from Apple, but rather a modular smartphone called Phonebloks. The idea of an upgradeable, customizable smartphone is an exciting one, but the revolutionary concept might not hold water. George Hahn at Generic Maker analyzed the phone over the weekend, and came to the conclusion that Phonebloks probably wouldn’t work.

The issues, as Hahn sees them are physics, communication, and interoperability. Because of the high speed that data travels in a modern smartphone, the parts all need to be extremely close together. By separating each individual component, it would not be possible to make sure the smartphone could run at the same speed as any given Android or iOS device. The assumption that parts could be placed anywhere on the base is also potentially misleading, as each component needs to be connected to its own specific processor pins.

The cost of making Phonebloks even close to viable is also far more than its creator likely anticipates.

“The amount of effort in testing and debugging that would be required to ensure the compatibility of each component would be absolutely enormous,” writes Hahn.

Hahn does praise the modular concept overall, however, and he agrees with the creator’s belief that there is far too much electronic waste. But he contends that the technology to make Phonebloks possible, especially for a reasonable price, just doesn’t exist yet.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.

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