Do Consumers Actually Want Modular Phones?

project-ara-theverge-2_1020The Verge has an excel­lent arti­cle on Google’s Project Ara. The concept of a truly modu­lar phone sounds like the holy grail to many tech enthu­si­asts.

Instead of having to pay $600 an replace your entire phone every 6 months to keep up with the latest and great­est, you will be able to just swap out a module (CPU or screen or some­thing else) and update your exist­ing phone. Project Ara isn’t a hack either. They’re think­ing through all the elements quite care­fully includ­ing the abil­ity to hot swap modules and using magnets to hold every­thing in place tightly.

It’s bold and ambi­tious and runs directly contrary to the move through­out the IT indus­try (phones and comput­ers) towards tighter and tighter inte­gra­tion with less replace­able compo­nents. That the geeks and hack­ers will want it is unques­tion­able, what’s really unknown is if anyone else will care.

Because if you look at the mass market, there are very few prod­ucts  that fit this mold at all. Gener­ally people buy a phone, keep it for 2+ years and then buy a new one. They don’t care if it’s not the latest and great­est. The same is true of comput­ers, and tvs, and DVD play­ers.

There are signif­i­cant poten­tial costs to a modu­lar design (both in mone­tary and design terms) too. There’s a real risk that a modu­lar phone will end up being more expen­sive and less capa­ble in terms of raw power than an inte­grated equiv­a­lent.

I kind of want this to work, just because. But in truth, I’m not sure I’d buy one.

Source: The Verge

About Eoghann Irving

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