Our modern gadget culture, especially the smartphone segment, is kind of built around the concept that we won't be able to repair our devices when something on them stops working, and that we'll instead just buy a whole new gadget. And the same thing goes for upgrading them - we may be able to upgrade the operating system or the apps on it, but we can't upgrade or even easily replace a single component, such as the camera or the storage media.
In addition, our "upgrade or be forever uncool" culture is also pushing us to get the latest version of just about every gadget on the market, and turning out a mountain of e-waste.
But what if the ubiquitous cellphone was reinvented, and instead of producing more and more branded phones that can't be upgraded or repaired, a modular platform was built that could swap out components quickly and easily, allowing for the ultimate in customization and upgrade potential?
"A phone only lasts a couple of years before it breaks or becomes obsolete. Although it's often just one part that killed it, we throw everything away because it's almost impossible to repair or upgrade."
That's the idea behind Phonebloks, from Dave Hakkens, and while it isn't a real object just yet, if it does make it past the idea stage, there will probably be a line around the virtual block to be one of the first to own one.
"Phoneblok is made of detachable bloks. The bloks are connected to the base which locks everything together into a solid phone. If a blok breaks you can easily replace it; if it's getting old just upgrade."
Phonebloks is just a concept at the moment, and there's no crowdfunding campaign, and no pre-order page, in fact, there isn't even a copyright on the idea. Hakkens thinks the idea is too big for just one company or startup to pursue, and that it will take a big group of partners to make something like this work.
If you'd like to see something like this get off the ground, you can help Phonebloks with their social campaign to get the word out about it, via a Thunderclap. If you'd rather read and debate about whether or not it will work, you might want to read Why the PhoneBloks phone will never happen.