When I first read about PhoneBloks a few months ago, they were gathering up twitters and facebooks for their social media “thunderclap.” In a nutshell, PhoneBloks is a high-concept vision for a utopian future where we build our smartphones piecemeal, like Lego or Ikea. Seeing as PhoneBloks is the brainchild of Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, how could it be anything else? Scandinavians – building things out of blocks since forever™. I thought it was an amazing idea, but never really expected it to go anywhere, or if it did, it would be through a smaller phone manufacturer trying to carve out a niche. Some may call it Internet-age pessimism, but I call it knowing how friggin’ uptight mobile electronics companies are about their IP. So you can understand my astonishment upon seeing this headline on The Verge:
Motorola is partnering with PhoneBloks on what they’re calling Project Ara, a mobile hardware platform consisting of an “endoskeleton” (which most people call just a plain old skeleton) and swappable modules that provide the device’s functions – WiFi, camera, cell antenna, etc. And just like that, the fault lines of Mobile-Electronics-Land have begun to creak. For the past few months, tech bloggers have been praising Google/Motorola for the Moto X’s snazzy features (read my thoughts on that here) while simultaneously calling our their poor profits and asking how long Google will continue to throw money into the Motorola bonfire. While many of the criticisms are valid, Google obviously has a master plan. This is at least part of that master plan.
Now I’m not going to say that this will incite a revolution in smartphones that will render all other form factors obsolete and make Motorola the Emperor of All Device Companies now and forever, blessings and peace be upon Dennis Woodside, because that’s just crazy talk. What I will say is that I WANT ONE. It may hasten the coming of our Googlezon overlords (go watch EPIC 2014 if you don’t get it – and remember that video’s almost 10 years old now), but I can’t help seeing it as the wave of the future.
via The Verge | Motorola reveals ambitious plan to build modular smartphones