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Project Ara: An upgradeable, repairable phone.

Phonebloks Demonstrates Project Ara, A Modular Phone

Project Ara has demonstrated a working prototype of their modular Android smartphone. It enables you to swap out quite a few parts, including the application processor, battery, LED module, loudspeaker, and USB charge card. Modular technology like this is great for upgrades, repairs, and is more environmentally sound than traditional irreparable smartphones. Today, you’re lucky if your smartphone battery is replaceable.

Project Ara: An upgradeable, repairable phone.
Project Ara: An upgradeable, repairable phone. Image obtained with thanks from Phonebloks on Twitter.

But, People Will Want To Replace Their Phones Anyway

I’ve been in countless debates pertaining to the modularity of devices in general, so I can help you understand the situation. People usually replace their phones due to a single malfunctioned part, obsolesence, or their screens are too badly scratched. Modular smartphones can help you to get around those problems by enabling you to replace your scratched screen or  upgrade your outdated processor.

Since the 1980s, personal computers have been highly customizable  and repairable compared to all other electronics. They achieved faster and greater technological advancement than non-standard electronics (they got HD technology before TVs, for example), and they were the most repairable electronics. Standardization and modularity has been proven (by PC technology) to work in the most brilliant way I could have imagined. Phone replacements could be less frequent because you could implement new technology in your existing Project Ara phone.

[yframe url=’https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qsGTXLnmKs’]

Environmentally, Project Ara Is Important

Whether or not this Google-supported concept saves much money (although theoretically, it can), it helps the often-ignored international electronic waste (e-waste) problem. Imagine using a Project Ara phone for a decade., you may have to replace about three of its blocks over that time period. If you didn’t use Project Ara, you would likely replace your entire phone three times over that time period.

Marques Brownlee commented on the older Phonebloks iteration back in 2013, stating that it might cost twice as much as a Samsung Galaxy. Seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty: If he is correct, that means it is financially worth it in the long term, based on the 10-year scenarios mentioned above. Three blocks is likely to be much cheaper than three whole smartphones.

He also said the modular concept is much thicker than a conventional smartphone. Would you rather use a traditional smartphone that causes far more environmental damage just because it is thinner, or choose a Project Ara which can still fit into your pocket easily?

I would choose the latter.

Source: Mashable.

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