Originally conceived about a year ago by an independant designer under the name “Phonebloks“, the idea was received with mixed opinions. On one hand, being able to create your own phone and escape the limitations placed on you by what is available in stores is great, but on the other, the feasibility of actually creating a phone in which you could simply plug in different things you wanted, was doubtful.
However, when Google bought the project shortly after the video began to go viral, confidence was reassured, because if anyone has the resources to pull off something as revolutionary and elaborate as this, it’s google. Just looking at how big an impact their other ventures are having, such as Google Glass, self driving cars and Project Loon, gives an idea of the breadth of capability this company holds.
And soon, this breadth should be reaching even further, as Project Ara is making solid progress
As you can see from this video, they have already got to a stage where they have a working Prototype. The fact that they can assemble the phone in a few seconds on screen and then boot it up into Android really excites me, and once experienced manufacturers such as Toshiba, and recently announced Sennheiser start making components for the skeleton of the phone, they should be able to be much more efficient and faster than the initial prototype you see in the video.
I personally think the idea is great. A lot of the time your phone may be getting old but the majority of it works fine, and the only reason you shell out for a new one is for more storage, or a faster processor. In this case, you could instead just buy the component that is lagging and replace it yourself, with basically no technology know how required. Also, it means that you don’t have to save up to buy a new phone or new contract, because instead you can just put a little bit of money towards what you need right now.
I also like the idea of being able to design my phone from scratch, for potentially a lower price than buying one premade, much like with building a pc, which is a much loved hobby of mine. I can choose where to spend my money, maybe large storge and big screen, and where to skimp out or invest in later, such as the speakers or camera.
All in all I hope to see progress continue on this project and that it brings something new to the phone market which is already brimming with newcommers such as OnePlus, Amazon Fire phone, Firefox OS and Linux based phones.
Let me know what you think of this project, would it be something that you would be interested in purchasing? What would be the factors that would make or break it for you?
For more on the project, check out the links in my article and some further ones below: