Phonebloks is a concept conceived by Dave Hakkens for a longer lasting smartphone that consists of detachable modular "blocks" or "bloks" that comprise each component which are detachable and can be replaced upon failure or inevitable obsolescence. Hardware capabilities and battery life vary greatly depending on preferences and inevitably budget. Different blocks of different capabilities from different brands will reportedly be available.
Broken or obsolete mobile phones are one of the single biggest contributors to E-waste in the world and recycling programs have not yielded satisfactory results. Since the 2000s, complaints of technology advancing at a rate faster than society can safety adapt to have grown and virtually no mobile phones or mobile devices are upgradable or even easily repairable. In the event of hardware failure, the only hope for repair whatsoever is often a "board swapping"; a procedure in which the phone is dissected and opened up with special equipment and the "main board" and/or the main screen being replaced altogether. Such repair jobs often cost more than the phone itself, as a result, the phone is simply discarded and replaced at costs that vary from circumstance to circumstance. After all this, statistics indicate that only 8% of phones are actually recycled safely.
Phonebloks however is built on the concept of providing a longer lasting mobile phone which is designed to be repaired in the event of a component failure or to be upgraded when the user desires more up to date hardware or functionality through the use of replaceable components.
Phonebloks phones consist of "blocks" which house individual replaceable components that likely include, but are not limited to:
- Screen (options appear to range from a screen alongside a physical QWERTY keyboard to a 100% touchscreen characteristic of most modern smartphones).
- Wifi chip
- Bluetooth chip
- 3G/4G cellular network chip
- RAM (random access memory)
- Hard drive (non volatile memory)
The blocks will be held sturdily in place to the main motherboard by two screws.
To get the project off the ground, Dave Hakkens is trying to gain support through a crowd speaking platform named "Thunderclap" who's purpose it is to make public the world's demand for such a smartphone.