[Community] Any thoughts on the "Phonebloks" project?

Raphael Wimmer raphael.wimmer at ur.de
Thu Sep 12 06:51:30 CEST 2013


There are numerous threads on Reddit that explain very well why this is  
not feasible [1,2,many]
The (imho) most important ones in short:
* Mechanical modularity increases size and cost, makes it harder to create  
a beautiful phone, and is not in the manufacturer's commercial interests.  
Therefore, it would be hard to find companies/customers to build/buy this.
* Many current components are highly integrated - SoCs, sensor ICs,  
Display/Touchscreen, etc. Making these modular would require development  
of many new components (and would increase size, cost, power consumption).
* The concept assumes that all components use a common communication  
backplane. This is not feasible, as a variety of voltages and  
communication protocols are in use in a typical phone (I2C, SPI, UART,  
USB, various display protocols, etc.). Many components need very short  
connections to the CPU/GPU/whatever without crossing other PCB traces. It  
is not realistic to make this work with a generic communication backplane.  
Proper heat dissipation for CPU/GPU is another problem.

In summary, while it is certainly feasible to build a modular phone (look  
at David Mellis' DIY cellphone [3]), doing so for current hardware would  
involve major engineering effort (== design and manufacture dozens of new  
chips) and would result in less stable, more expensive, and less beautiful  
phones requiring more power.


[many] http://www.reddit.com/r/all/search?q=phonebloks&restrict_sr=on
[3] http://hlt.media.mit.edu/?p=2182

On Thu, 12 Sep 2013 05:49:48 +0200, NeilBrown <neilb at suse.de> wrote:

> On Thu, 12 Sep 2013 04:26:10 +0200 Orest Tarasiuk <orest.tarasiuk at tum.de>
> wrote:
>> Any thoughts on this [1]?
>> [1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDAw7vW7H0c
> Totally impractical.  I got the distinct feeling that the person/people  
> who produced that have now idea have electronics devices work.

Raphael Wimmer
Lehrstuhl für Medieninformatik / Media Informatics Group
Universität Regensburg
93040 Regensburg

Tel.: +49 941 943-3170
Mobile: +49 160 1085681
Fax: +49 941 943-2429

E-Mail: raphael.wimmer at ur.de
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