Phonebloks is a modular smartphone concept created and designed by the Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, primarily to reduceelectronic waste. While Phonebloks is not the first attempt at modular design in a phone, it is notable due to the extent of its modularity and the attention and support it has garnered. By attaching individual third-party components (called “bloks”) to a main board, a user would create a personalized smartphone. These bloks can be replaced at will to replace a broken blok, to upgrade an existing blok, or to expand the functionality of the phone into a specific direction. Bloks would be available in Blokstore, “an app store for hardware”, where users could buy new and used bloks as well as sell back their old ones
Phonebloks consists of a main board onto which bloks could be snapped on by the user like Lego bricks. Each blok is responsible for a unique function of the phone, much like a desktop computer has a distinct sound card, graphics card, processor, monitor, and power supply. As a result, instead of replacing the entire phone when it becomes obsolete or broken, one could simply replace the defective or performance-limiting part. If the consumer wants a camera that suits his or her needs better, he or she could for example swap their small generic camera blok for a larger zoom camera from a manufacturer such as Nikon or Canon instead of buying a phone with a better camera. In theory, this would lead to fewer people throwing away their phones and contributing to the ever-increasing problem of electronic waste. Smartphones based on the Phonebloks system would be sold part by part, as well as in starter sets. When assembled, the phone would have a screen covering the entirety of the front, volume buttons and headphone jacks along the outer edge, and bloks clicked into the back, forming a rectangular block shape overall.
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