Bringing Phonebloks to Life
Dave Hakkens has created one of the most revolutionary concepts of the 21st century, known as Phonebloks. His idea is that we can reduce a huge amount of electronic waste by simply upgrading individual components, or “bloks” of our phones, rather than discarding the entire phone if something breaks or becomes obsolete. This in turn will reduce electronic waste, conserve natural resources, and protect consumers at the same time. He has made the Phonebloks concept open-source, so any group such as PhoneBloks.org (that’s us) can take the idea to the next level, and produce a working, viable Phonebloks phone. On his website, Dave says:
That’s where PhoneBloks.org comes into play. We have a team that is actively recruiting volunteers to build the first prototype of the PhoneBloks concept. Ultimately we need to get Phonebloks on Kickstarter, as it is the one crowdfunding option that can achieve true global support. The obstacle we need to overcome is that Kickstarter requires a functioning prototype in order to crowdfund a technology product. So we need to get a basic prototype up and running, even if it doesn’t look exactly like the phonebloks video. Obviously translating Dave’s idea into a prototype isn’t going to be cheap – or easy. But we believe we can do it. And we can do it faster than dealing with all the red tape and fixed mindsets inherent in a large corporation. But we need your help.
PhoneBloks on Kickstarter
Once we’re on Kickstarter, we’ll offer a whole variety of rewards to contributors, including functional PhoneBloks phones. We’ll have contribution levels for everyone, from $5 to $10,000. Hopefully the design of our production phone will end up being half as sexy Dave’s design. The prototype might not be pretty, but it’ll prove more than a point: that a modular phone IS technically feasible.
Why Not Ask Major Cell Phone Companies to Work Together to Develop the Architecture?
First off, cell phone companies might attempt to kill such a project, which could affect their bread and butter – handset sales. Will cell phone manufacturers such as Samsung, Apple and Nokia profit as much with a modular cell phone that virtually never needs to be replaced? And what about the wireless service providers who sell their handsets? Best case, they’ll take years to bring Phonebloks to market. And that’s only if their product portfolio managers forecast a positive return on investment. Worst case, they’ll put the idea on the backburner, attempt to file lawsuits against those who attempt to manufacture such a device, and even prevent Phonebloks from ever making it onto a wireless network.
How Will PhoneBloks.org Do It?
PhoneBloks.org is made up of a bunch of individuals with a shared goal: to build the first functional prototype of Phonebloks, and get it to the point where is can be manufactured and sold at a viable price point. We already have a few people highly skilled in the areas of corporate negotiations, enterprise software, app development and product design. We need advice and assistance from everyone (that’s you). We believe a nimble, collaborative organization like PhoneBloks.org will allow us to transform PhoneBloks from concept to reality much sooner. We already have some ideas about which architecture we should use for our plug-and-play modular components.
Where Do We Start?
1. Help us spread the word, and send people to PhoneBloks.org, as well as to Phonebloks.com
2. offer your expertise in the areas of product design, electrical engineering, software engineering, etc
3. Submit ideas for building the functional prototype, and contribute on our GitHub (we will be launching this shortly)
4. We’ll help direct different teams toward various responsibilities based on your area of specialty
5. We’re not asking for donations, but we’ll partner up with folks who can fund prototyping costs to get this on Kickstarter
Kudos to the Creator
We want to sincerely thank Dave Hakkens for his amazing idea, his inspiring video, and for making the Phonebloks concept open-source. In keeping with Dave’s philosophy, nothing will be copyrighted, and will be made publicly available via open-source license. So if larger companies would like to work with this concept as well, and make an even more advanced PhoneBlok than what we come up with, then go for it! We will provide you with everything we have via GitHub. If private individuals would like to build a PhoneBlok – we’ll help you make it happen too. Because we believe that reducing electronic waste will help conserve our natural resources, reduce waste, and protect our planet.
I want to thank everyone in advance for their expertise and support, and for getting the message out. Like us, tweet us, pin us, digg us, and +1 us. Get the word out there that Phonebloks is NOT just a concept anymore; it is about to be a viable product available to anyone. If you or your friends are designers, engineers, hobbyists, or just advocates, please get in touch. We can’t wait to hear from you!