Phonebloks: A modular phone you update a piece at a time

(Credit: Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

One of the most annoying things about some smartphones (and other gadgets) is that they don’t have removable batteries. Or you can’t upgrade the memory. Or once the screen breaks, that’s it, game over. Or you have found another phone with, say, a camera that better suits your needs. You have to replace an otherwise perfectly cromulent gadget because one part failed to function as it should, or as you want it to.

And what happens to that old phone? Most of them end up languishing in drawers or tucked away on shelves. Some end up in landfills. But this waste could be reduced if Dutch designer Dave Hakkens’ Phonebloks concept ever came to fruition.

The concept is really very simple. Each device consists of a motherboard drilled with holes. On the front, you can mount a detachable display; on the back are all of the hardware features that make the phone work, such as the battery and mobile antenna. The holes in the motherboard contain electrical connectors, which form a circuit with the conductive pins of the blocks, creating a fully functional — and fully upgradeable — phone.

(Credit: Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

But it’s not just about getting a better battery or a higher-resolution screen, which can be sw… [Read more]

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