innovation / products

phonebloks: a new type of mobile phone

last Tuesday I visited the Graduation Show by the Design Academy Eindhoven (as part of Dutch Design Week 2013) where the academy’s graduates present their work to the public. One of the projects I saw there was one I had already encountered (and found very interesting), but I wasn’t aware the project was a graduation project. I’m referring to Phonebloks (not a typo, it’s written this way), by Dutch designer Dave Hakkens.

Phonebloks is a new type of mobile phone that addresses the problem of electronic devices becoming obsolete so quickly, which leads to enormous amounts of electronic waste. The problem is that most phones, laptops, DVD players and what not are very difficult to repair (or adjust to specific consumer wishes).

Phonebloks is different and its tagline says it all: a phone worth keeping. How does it work? Phonebloks is made of detachable blocks that each have their own function and are connected to a base. Depending on what you want your phone to do, you can remove or add blocks to it. These block are for sale in a store that is similar to an appstore, but then for hardware.

This system of detachable blocks makes it possible to keep up with the latest technologies without having to buy a completely new phone (you just add a new block that gives you access to the technology of your choice). Also, if part of the phone stops functioning, you only have to replace the non-working block.

The question now is: will this be the future of mobile phones? Thanks to the power of the internet (and Hakkens’ idea) his video about Phonebloks has gotten over 16 million views already and help is offered from around the world to make Hakkens’ idea reality. If Phonebloks will become the new standard for electronic devices is difficult to predict. Fact is that 16 million people are at least triggered by the idea and looking at the responses on the Phoneblok video on my Facebook timeline, a lot of my friends really like the idea of having a phone that is worth keeping instead of being made to throw away.

If you want to show your support, you can by telling the world you want a phone that is worth keeping on Thunderclap (four more days to go, be quick).

Please also read my story on that other new type of mobile phone: the Fairphone.

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