Monday, September 23, 2013

Is Phonebloks Going to See the Light of Day, or Will It Just Bite the Dust?

Perhaps, you have heard about Phonebloks, the brilliant concept aimed on creating a phone worth keeping. It breaks the traditional where consumers would have to buy an entire brand new handheld device just to go for an upgrade. Call it coincidence, but the concept was made public just close to Apple’s launch of its latest iPhone collection, the flagship phone, the 5S, and its cheaper kin, the 5C. The timing was right to influence the mindset of consumers to break away from unnecessary upgrades and mindless spending, so to speak.

One of the most compelling reasons why this concept ever came to be is because of the increasing volume of electronic waste. Ever since the electronics market have garnered a remarkable attention on the market—mostly after mobile phones were invented—the bulk on these waste category have grown immensely. More often than not, the mobile phone as a whole stopped working because only one component of the entire device malfunctioned. And this results to components in good condition to be put to waste.

Scrutinizing the concept itself, the most commendable feature of this would probably be its capability to be customized by the user himself. He can be able to mix and match parts that can suit his very needs. Phonebloks works on the premise that everyone is different and has different needs as well on their smartphones. And this might be the answer to this yearning that people have been clamoring about.

Shortly after the publicity stunt of Phonebloks, it has already caught the attention of millions, which in fact is the aim of its proponent. For this concept to materialize, it must be able to gather the support of the general public in voicing out their sentiment, shouting out their desire to have a phone worth keeping. This move will be able to create the demand that electronic manufacturers will be constrained to think through.

However, no matter how much attention it garners from people all over the world. The concept will not become a reality if companies that can potentially innovate the device are uninterested. And as of now, one analyst has expressed his skepticism on the concept. Actually, he has come to the conclusion that Phonebloks probably wouldn’t work. And here’s why:

The issues that Phoneblocks may face are rooted on physics, communication, and interoperability. At present time, the latest smartphones use components that allow high speed travel of data within the device. This can only take place if the parts are extremely close together. By separating each individual component like Lego blocks, the device as a whole won’t be able to keep up with today’s standards in terms of performance. In addition, the idea of placing individual parts anywhere on the base is misleading; each component has to be connected to its own specific processor pins.

Besides the concept per se, financial issues may also arise. The cost of coming up with a prototype is deemed beyond imaginable. According to the analyst, “The amount of effort in testing and debugging that would be required to ensure the compatibility of each component would be absolutely enormous.” It’s no question that the concept is laudable overall, but it being made available in the shelves of tech stores or in listings of online mobile stores in the near future seems to be absolutely far-fetched.

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