Business news from the Fredericksburg region.
COLUMN: But will the Lego-like phone have a corkscrew?
When Google bought Motorola, it was exciting news for those who want to see genuine innovation in the design of smartphones.
Motorola’s trying its best.
Its Advanced Technology and Projects group has launched Project Ara, in which it’s working with the open-source modular phone project Phonebloks to develop a free, open hardware platform that could lead to modular smartphones.
This idea has been called the “anti-iPhone.”
Because. Everything. Must. Be. Compared. To. The. iPhone.
Someday we’ll be able to customize our own modular Motorola Phonebloks ourselves with an infinite number of combinations of Lego-like components. We’ll snap them apart and back together ourselves, gleefully swapping out parts to our heart’s content—after replacing the ones we accidentally step on or flush down the toilet.
There will probably be a Phonebloks corkscrew module that can be swapped with the camera module for those who prefer drinking wine to taking pictures.
I’m pretty sure there will be a Batman Phonebloks, a Star Wars Phonebloks and a SpongeBob Phonebloks.
Some spoilsports say, though, that a Lego approach would result in a phone that’s bulkier, heavier, slower and more expensive.
Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, the father of Phonebloks, hopes that opening development up, with corporate support, will lead to a leap forward. It could.
Hakkens says via the Phonebloks website: “Phonebloks is a big fan of getting the people involved right from the start, share ideas, feedback and work together [sic]. Thanks to all your huge support, Motorola is committed to develop this idea in the open. Working together with a large company on this scale is quite revolutionary. What we are most excited about is that they can’t make bad moves when the world is paying attention. The crowd can influence the direction of the project.”
Maybe Motorola or some developer will consider my corkscrew module idea.
“We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software,” Motorola’s official blog says, “ to give you the power to decide what your phone does, how it looks, where and what it’s made of, how much it costs and how long you’ll keep it.”
Making, as Hakkens calls it, “a phone worth keeping” to spare the environment is a worthy goal.
But let me get this straight. A modular phone is eco-friendly because you don’t throw your whole phone out every couple of years when you’re ready to upgrade?
Because it’s better for the environment if you instead throw away your modular phone’s components one at a time over those same two years when you break them or they become obsolete and you want to upgrade your camera or your battery or your CPU?
I see. P.U.
Michael Zitz lives in Spotsylvania County. He wishes he still had his 1996 Motorola StarTAC Capt. Kirk flip phone so Scotty could beam him up.