E-Waste is one of the fastest growing waste stream in the world and is nearly impossible to recycle. Mobile phones are a major contributor to it.
We released a concept for a modular phone that you can upgrade and repair. Google joined in and eventually killed it.
Phonebloks was an idea for a new kind of phone. A phone that you don’t have to throw away every few years because it is broken or getting slow. This modular phone can be upgraded, repaired and even customised to your needs. Phonebloks is a concept, a vision for a less wasteful future.
The idea of Phonebloks was to share it online, get people to support it, and inspire phone companies to work on it as they could see a market for it. When it released it got worldwide support and triggered companies to work on it.
Google took a serious attempt with Project Ara but killed a few years later because they wanted focus more on software projects. Nowadays the most noticeable modular phones are fairphone and shiftphone. Not as modular as Phonebloks but a step in the direction of less wasteful phone.
Upon release in September 2013 Phonebloks concept video gained support attracting tens of millions of people that started to be interested in a modular phone. Hooray!
Companies started to notice there was a market for a modular phone. They released their concepts, create news ones and assambled team. Google being the most active one.
Google spend 2 years developing Project Ara. We helped and consulted here and there. They managed to make a phone that actually works and can hot swap modules. Quite impressive. But all of a sudden they decided to kill the project and focus more on software. Boom. Project gone.
Over time some other modular phones popped up. Shift Phone , Puzzlephone, LG’s Modualr phone etc. The most noteworthy one is Fairphone, making slow but steady progress towards modularity.
The goal of Phonbloks was never to develop a phone. It was just an idea to get people thinking about e-waste and propose and alternative. For us a modular phone was a 15 year goal to work towards. Because it means rebuilding our current technology in a completely new way. Not an easy task.
Google came very far with project Ara and Fairphone is slowly integrating it. We are not actively involved and are following from the sideline.Time will tell how this will move forward. We are happy more people saw the potentials in modularity.