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

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Thu Sep 12 07:04:20 CEST 2013

Am 12.09.2013 um 06:51 schrieb Raphael Wimmer:

> Hi.
> 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.

Yes, it assumes that nobody wants to change display dimensions or industrial design.


> * 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.).

This interface mingle-mangle could IMHO be solved, but would require some years of intensive work with the industrial standardization bodies...

> 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.

Yes their main claim or starting point, that devices are not designed for durability is not bad attitude of the manufacturers, but the result of a balanced tradeoff between two customer requirements: better-than-last-year *and* cheaper.

But their video is a well done sketch of the idea. We need such guys who know how to visually present things...


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