Modular Smartphones, make or break?

The smartphone industry is ever so changing. The mobile companies are getting so competitive that now we evaluate a smartphone by what it doesn’t have instead of what it has. But one of the most brightest prospects are maybe the Modular smartphone of which we all are waiting eagerly. To understand modular phones , you have to know what ‘modular’ is. It comes from the word ‘module’. In this case modules are the small parts of your smartphone by which the smartphone is made of. Such as your phone’s camera, processor, battery, GPU , different sensors, ROM, RAM etc are all modules.

Some prime external modules of a phone.


The thing about modular phone is that you can change these modules as you like.What if you are a photography lover and you like to take photos with your phone a lot, but your phone has only 5 megapixels camera.Using modular phone you can buy a new 13 megapixels camera module and swap it with your current one and voila,your phone becomes a high-end photography capable smartphone.Similarly you can change your memory space module for a bigger one if you store and watch movies in your smartphone. The top dog smartphone companies don’t allow you to insert additional memory to the device. But soon, you can overcome all these hurdles pretty easily.  Sounds futuristic,right? Not for long.

Some internal parts(modules).

The modular phone idea is also dedicated to a greener earth.If some particular parts of your phone breaks, you don’t have to buy a new phone and throw away your old one.Now you can just swap the parts which broke.So there is way less waste.

You can also just upgrade your smartphone without buying a new iPhone or Samsung flagship every year. Yay for us!!

The idea of modular phone was first given as a concept in a YouTube video Phonebloks! on 2013. Later on, the idea was picked up by Google.We all know that Google once bought the Motorola mobile company. Google acquired a ton of patent of modular smartphone which started working under Motorola.It was codenamed as Google’s Project ARA.Though Google sold Motorola to Lenovo in 2014, they kept that huge patent of Project Ara. Google,clever as always.

Google’s Project ARA. Smartphones have similar slots to the PCI of PCs. The future of smartphones?

Google announced Project Ara on 2013 but kept quiet for 2 years.At Google I/O 2016, the company unveiled a new development model, the “Developer Edition”.Though the number of removable module is less than the original concept ,but still it is enough for now.The device now consists of a base phone with core components that cannot be upgraded, including the antenna, battery, display, sensors, and system-on-chip, and extensible with modules for adding features such as a secondary display or replacement cameras and speakers. Google announced that it planned to perform a consumer launch of Project Ara in 2017.So hopefully we will see improvements in the near future in making the modular smartphone as modular as the original concept.

But developing a modular version is as much as hard as the idea sounds potential. Because testing, form factors and durability are in question here. Then there’s always a matter of how much it’s gonna cost. Though the prospect of modular smartphones are very exciting the idea still is a very fragile state. We still don’t know if the developed phones will be able to match consumers expectations initially. But let’s keep our fingers crossed and sit back and see the development of smartphone industry cruise forward.


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