The Moto X bills itself as a super-customizable device. This is actually pretty hilarious, because really you’re talking about having a wide choice of colors for the back, and maybe a few other cosmetic thing. It’s not like going old-school Dell and piecing together your PC online from a huge array of options on every conceivable aspect of the machine (except, now that I think about it, the cosmetic).
Well, I saw Mike Daisey link to this new project (is it a project? or is it more of a concept?) for a phone that really is customizable to a staggering degree, and more importantly, it’s staggeringly practical.
But of course, customization is actually the happy byproduct of its first aim, sustainability. Phonebloks proposes a device that allows for the swapping in and out of components for the purposes of repair, upgrading, and changing needs. And these components all take the form of “bloks.” Check the video:
Now, I’m the guy who ditched a Nexus 7 (1st generation) because I became weary of Android’s customization options — I felt overwhelmed by all I could do, and thereby felt compelled to tweak in a Sisyphean effort to uttery optimize the device. I came back to an all-iOS universe because Apple makes all the choices for you, and they happen to be really, really good at it.
But this is a little different. Because even though I opted out of Android, it’s not because it wasn’t good enough. At this point, mobile devices and their software have matured to the point that any device of a certain quality is going to be more than capable, and sufficiently awesome. So in, say, two years, if this Phoneblok concept becomes reality, it will presumably have as options all the bells and whistles we know and rely on today, assuming you value them: a high-resolution screen, a first-tier operating system (one assumes Android), and the requisite guts to run fluidly.
It will almost certainly not be as sublimely cool as the iPhone 6S, the Nexus 5-Mark-III, or whatever the hell else comes about at that time, but it will be more than cool enough. And more importantly, it will be sustainable, resonsible, and easy to maintain and improve over time. It may even be more fun to own.
I’m excited by this idea. I hope it takes off, and I’ll be participating in its little social network upvote-bomb to help get it some attention.