When my Samsung Star phone was stolen about a year ago, I was almost relieved. Escaping my old phone and choosing a new one reminded me just how much I had been missing out on in cellphone technology.
With my new phone I am finally able to operate WhatsApp, send a few messages to friends and potentially escape becoming a lonely hermit.
The only problem with the new phone is the camera. With such shocking quality (read: Super Saiyan flash and colour reassignment that would make Franz Marc proud), it is difficult to please my thousands of Instagram followers (read: my sister wants better quality pictures of our #cute #dog). I will not be using the camera.
This means that there is a component of my phone that I will not use that is taking up space in my pocket.
Without sounding too much like a Verimark advert I began to think about how great it would be if I could remove my inferior quality camera altogether or, perhaps, upgrade my camera without upgrading my entire phone.
Now, I’m not punting Phonebloks as a solution to my problem but it is interesting to see the type of response it has received from the online community recently. A largely positive response and viral sharing of an explanatory video have propelled the idea of a customisable, building block cellphone into the limelight.
Phonebloks re-imagines the cellphone as a Lego character. It focuses on the chest of the Lego man as the motherboard and the different components such as the local memory or battery as different pairs of pants, hairstyles or Harry Potter capes that can be added and removed to the base, depending on your needs.
But as social media users have pointed out, there are still many technical difficulties in fitting together the different components without compromising size and function of the phone. Separate pieces could also be more expensive because they would need to be specialised.
User fauxshizzl, commenting on an article promoting the Phoneblok concept, says:
“I don’t know guys, I think they are onto something. The video portrayed hipster indie music, minimalist design choices, AND a guy with an accent telling you all about it. Those are apparently the key things needed to sell phones to iDiots, so they should be flying of the shelves soon!”
It may be too soon to judge but Phonebloks, or something similar, could change the way that users are able to personalise and interact with their technology.
Thinking about the chunky music player that I had before the iPod came out makes it hard to dismiss this idea too quickly.