Modular Phones, Built To Last

Most probably, if you're reading this, you know of someone who had to replace his or her smartphone after dropping it to the ground, and had to spend in a new (or the same) phone because repairs are often too expensive or hard to come by.

Some manufacturers, having this unfortunate situation in mind, decided that something should be done about it and that was how the 'Modular Phones' came to be.

A modular phone is a smartphone built with components that can be independently upgraded or replaced. The components come in easy to remove modules that attach to a main board, which is the main component of the phone.

Concept image of Phonebloks

Concept image of Phonebloks

The purpose of modular phones is to reduce electronic waste, increase the durability of phones, and decrease the prices for repairs or upgrades.

The first project of this nature was Phonebloks (2013). Currently there are three major initiatives around modular phones:

The Fairphone 2, pleading for fairer electronics and ethical manufacuring; Project Ara (supported by Goggle), looking to make affordable modular phones to make internet accessible to anyone; and the Puzzle Phone, which purpose is to return manufacturing to local markets, and produce with nature­friendly practices