This isn’t your next mobile phone, this isn’t either.

A couple of  months ago  Phonebloks gained a lot of coverage on  technology blogs and news sites. Mainly in part to its launch on the crowd supporting website Thunderclap , Initially it was the specialist tech blogs that covered it but as these things tend to the idea spread to the mainstream, with both the Guardian and BBC featuring the story.

 Shortly after the widespread coverage of the initial product Google/Motorola announced that they had a similar idea already in development and that they would be partnering with Dave Hakkens  the designer of PhoneBlok.

it was interesting to read the coverage as pretty much every website structured the story in the same way.  Starting off by saying what an amazing idea it is,  describing it in further detail and then hidden away near the bottom if at all asking an expert who would point out that it was in fact an idea that wouldn’t actually work.

Its a sound idea in principle and has already been applied to a small special computer by BugLabs But trying to make a phone that has interchangeable CPU, Graphics Processor and memory, would result in a phone that cost vastly more than a comparable equivalent and would a lot more bulky, no slim sexy iPhone here.

By using a System on a Chip (SOC) putting all the major computer components not only on the same board but on the same chip is how it is possible to make phones so small.  In fact it is by doing this that means a Raspberry Pi which has the computing power of a low end mobile phone can be sold for around £25.

So the PhoneBlok for me was pretty much a non-starter from day one.  What I have found a lot more interesting is the DIY Cellphone Project .  This isn’t going to challenge the iphone for looks or user friendliness but unlike the PhoneBlok this is a working device that can be bought and assembled if you have the skill and patience.

The exciting thing about this phone isn’t that you can build your own phone by following the instructions but both the Hardware and Software are available on Github for people to download, have a look at play around with and see what they can come up with.

Putting the technology into the hands of designers, engineers, makers and tinkerers will allow ideas to be tried out, prototyped and tested.  Some will probably be a little bit daft, some may be quite sensible but only have a niche application, but somewhere in that lot there will be ideas that percolate through to the main stream, and that to me is a lot more interesting than a pretend phone.

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