Phoneblocs – The iPhone I wish Apple was making

If there is one thing Apple isn’t known for, it’s upgradeability. As a traditionally hardware-based company, it’s in Apple’s best interest for you to throw away your iPhone, MacBook, or iMac every 2-3 years or so if you decide you want something as simple as more storage space or even RAM. Long-time readers are likely sick to death of my call for more storage space on the iPhone, as with each subsequent version Apple encourages us to take larger photos and videos.

But one hopeful tech upstart has an idea that can potentially help future-proof your mobile phone in a way that appears to be so simple you wonder how no one thought of it before. Phone Blocs is the brainchild of Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, and at the moment is really nothing more than a kickstarter video. But take a look at that video and tell me if you do not think the idea is kind of brilliant.

Now, odds are the reason an idea this simple has never been made is because while it works great in theory, perhaps the practicality of such a device would run into some technological obstacles. Such as while it’s nice to imagine snapping in a faster processor when a new one becomes available, often leaps in one technology require other aspects, such as the speed of connections to that processor, to also be updated in order to reap the benefits. Still, the idea of being able to customize your phone to suit your lifestyle, like adding a giant battery or bigger camera, is really cool, even if only the Android world would be likely to entertain such an idea.

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One Response to “Phoneblocs – The iPhone I wish Apple was making”
  1. valkraider says:

    There is a reason this has never been built, and never will be built.

    Well, there are lots of reasons.

    The biggest problem with Android is fragmentation. It is very hard to write software to support too many different combinations of hardware. Writing an application (let alone an OS) that needs to support an infinite amount of possible hardware configurations would be incredibly complex. Not only would it need to support the presence of or lack of devices – but it would need to be able to recognize every time a piece of hardware changed and adapt accordingly. This was a huge problem in the PC world for decades – in fact the whole reason I switched to Mac in 2001 was I was tired of finding drivers that would work for my hardware. You want that problem on your phone?

    What about durability and reliability? What happens when the connectors fill with dust or lint? When someone drops a phone, do the connectors loosen up? What happens if a connector gets loose and wiggles – causing a short circuit? What about moisture or corrosion?

    Would the colors of the blocks matter? Some people might like different colors but most probably won’t. Even the “same” color would have problems as some blocks would show wear & year and others wouldn’t.

    Who provides support? Who do you call if the software you need doesn’t support your new camera lens block? Who is to blame if something isn’t compatible – the hardware, the OS, or the driver?

    How do you make blocks that would work on the outside or the inside – do we make sharp edges for the inside or beveled/smooth edges for the outside? What if one person wants a block on the edge that another person wants in the middle?

    How do you identify that some pins change purpose? For example one person wants a larger battery so the battery pins would change where the pins would line up.

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