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Phonebloks | A Phone Worth Keeping


p h o n e b l o k s . c o m

Thunderclap Site


A phone only lasts a couple of years before it breaks or becomes obsolete. Although it's often just one part which killed it, we throw everything away since it's almost impossible to repair or upgrade.


Phonebloks is made of detachable bloks. The bloks are connected to the base which locks everything together into a solid phone. If a blok breaks you can easily replace it, if it's getting old just upgrade.


This is the coolest idea I have ever seen for a "Smart" phone! In light of Apple just adding a fingerprint scanner to their new iPhone 5S, something like this is very welcome. With companies further pushing intrusive technologies on consumers, having the ability to fully control what components you need at any one time is genius! Don't want WiFi on? Remove it. No GPS? Remove it. No Connection (aka OTG)? Remove it.

With privacy diminishing by the day, this is an effort I can fully support.

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for last day.

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He's raised the goal from 500,000 to 900,000 people...

and is almost there, with 29 days to go.

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I think this is really cool,

I think this is really cool, but I think the problem is technological advancements move quickly. Sure, it will last longer and be easier to replace broken parts than current phones, but you'll want a new motherboard anyway every few years.

When I buy a phone, I'm not

When I buy a phone, I'm not looking to buy a poorly integrated version of a Heathkit. There is no way a DIY phone is going to be more efficient than a tightly engineered iPhone.

Where is the prototype?

Pie in the sky dreaming. Electronics are not created with social movements.

You're right, prototypes

You're right, prototypes aren't made with social movements. Products are. There's nothing technically unfeasible or even challenging about it, honestly.

Are you an Engineer?

Every engineer I've heard weigh in on this subject, states it's completely unfeasible to make at a size competitive with current cell phones. And, that's just one of the problems. If you're going to make claims that it's not "unfeasible or even challenging" at least let us know what your background or qualifications are, to help us assess your credibility on the matter.

How about a tablet?

Would that be big enough?

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I agree, this is a terrible

I agree, this is a terrible idea. It has been tried before with other computing components in the past, and always fails. We can all beg and scream until our faces turn blue, but that doesn't make things happen. Instead, these shouting matches detract from other advancements. Wish a billion times in one hand, s--- in another. Which happens.

Dude, it isn't pictured at a

Dude, it isn't pictured at a size competitive with current cell phones. I don't have any personal qualifications but my knowledge of circuits suggests this wouldn't be a huge problem.

But I never said that there wouldn't be differences, and that it wouldn't take time to refine. It is ridiculous to think we can pick up a completely brand new way of doing things and first generation it's going to be better than the old way in every single aspect.

Anyway, what are mywindow's qualifications to claim it's impossible and can't be done? That's the more absurd claim, obviously.

Option of smaller screen, allowing room for another camera...

and a speaker on the front.

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The Diamond Dog loves this idea.

The Diamond Dog is a real cool cat. | Reporting on the world from an altitude of 420.

Apparently, a half a million other people do, too.

They reached their goal today - 500,000 people, 45 days ahead of schedule...

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No phonebloks due to fascism.

Which is why the narrator says 'the right people' need to be on board. Because a few people, and not all the people ie the market (per Mises), control the decisions.

This sort of thing, like charger standards (which were later 'solved' by more government intervention but which will now doom the standard to stagnation) would be solved by the free market and solved better.

The reason it's not is that due to corporate protection, ie regulation and corporate taxes, (yes corporate taxes help corporations, I'll explain in another post if anyone doesn't understand), tariffs, IP law, EM BAND LICENSURE etc etc limit the ability of entry into the market. The reason the few allowed market players get away with this practice, and similar ones like locking you into contracts, is because there are so few market actors.

This phonebloks seems like a good idea. In a free market good idea's will have a chance to find capital. No present player could stop a good idea if it's good.

In fascism market activity is tightly controlled, if via subtle methods. Not only good ideas are stopped, just having an idea is discouraged.

Fascism suffers all the flaws of socialism, but they have more subtle effect and slower. Means of production is nominally privately owned in fascism, but is practice this ownership and all private property ownership is subject to government control and ultimately subject to seizure.

Corporations themselves use government to become larger than is efficient, and Mises calculation argument applies. Without a market a large firm simply cannot calculate the best use of resources. It can try based on external market prices but it itself distorts those prices, and of course it's subject to human egos in position of power ignoring market signals.

To compensate for this ever increasing inefficiency corporations have to rely on ever increasing government propping up and protection from competition.

There's a reason we have corporations lasting centuries, and it's not because they are good or efficient. It's because they are protected like a boutique pet that could never survive on the street.

This has foreign policy implications. Since they cannot survive in the world market without the direct domestic protection they enjoy, they rely on the government wolfs to lay waste or threaten any foreign competition. We fight wars thus.

This has unemployment implications. The barriers to entry into any market activity, (try starting a business) prevent people who otherwise could become employers from doing so. Plenty of people have capital and an idea, but the added costs from government prevent it.

This drives down the supply of employers. This in turn drives down wages, and combined with various government doles and minimum wage laws (ie hard and soft minimum price controls) causes unemployment. Those controls are only called for in the first place because government has limited the supply of jobs. Simply, the reason the labor market doesn't clear is because of government. It is the result of government that wages are low and unemployment is high. It's because government protects corporations.


I remember Jacque Fresco talking about this sort of tek in one of his documentaries. Great idea and it will go beyond just cellphones to all electronics the more the people demand it.

See, this is the perfect example as to why the "free" market should really be free. I would buy that phone in a heartbeat seeing as I absolutely refuse to buy into all the iphone crazes and such, because I see no value there. Just a high priced phone that will be outdated in a year. Same with laptops.

It needs a 'blok' with an adapter to accept other bloks...

that can be plugged in and removed quickly and easily for single applications - such as the example of a thermometer shown in the video.

Also, it needs a protective lid for the screen that can flip up to provide a screen against sunlight or even for privacy when entering a password.

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That's fine with me..

I'm buying into the idea of the phone, not that specific phone in that video.

I think being able to switch out components instead of buying a new one is pretty good value. Better than paying $230 for a phone that you will completely replace by another $250 phone a year later.

Gonna or Not Gonna Happen

I'm just glad to be having a conversation about alternative ideas to approaching smartphone design.

For those in the comments that say this will "Never" happen, 10 years ago I didn't even conceive of something like a touch phone with no physical buttons. Technology expands so much quicker than anything else that such tech might be 5-10 years away. "Current carriers won't let it happen", apply that to the corporate media. When the status quo isn't cutting it, an alternative will.

Components get smaller and cheaper. Add 3D printing to the mix. This is new territory all around. Let's see what happens.

Thanks for the great and "alternative" feedback ;)

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Add 3d Printing...

Imagine if you could print the "upgrade components" and just plug them in. You're getting my geekiness going.

No GPS? Really?

If you want to manufacture a new phone today it has to have GPS I think, this is something been discussed in Sweden at least.

The idea is good but what software will it use? ANDROID? I am waiting for a Linux phone myself...

Teach a man to fish and you feed him for the rest of his life.
Teach a man to phish and he'll clean out your bank account.


Like was said, android is Linux. However, Ubuntu has a distro for the ARM which looks sweet. It's a full PC. http://www.ubuntu.com/phone

Android is linux, dude.

Android is linux, dude.

Motarola Brick

I want my brick back!! ...in analog! Mine never dropped a call, was always crystal-clear and was super tough!!! I once ran over it with a diesel pickup and didn't even phase it! I don't like technology...I don't text (don't know how), don't want the weather or GPS on my phone, no camera...for me, a phone is to make a call ...to talk to someone. The rest of it is just gadgetry to get you to want one, carry one so that Big Brother can catalog you. Call me Paranoid...but I'm not playing the game; be wary of corporations and government. I carry a "dumb phone" from Walmart...pay-as-you-go with no contract. I'd gladly live without one at all if I could.

Silence isn't always golden....sometimes it's yellow.

"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." - Patrick Henry

It IS a cool idea

But it's adding unnecessary weight etc by giving everything their own enclosures. A much better idea would be to ship drop-in compatible parts. You have a single back panel and the ability to tear it all apart and switch out components. Essentially a DIY phone, not unlike the computer you're currently using. Easy for someone with a touch of experience to switch out while maintaining a good base for everything. Other thing I could see happening is that the screen & backplane are one in the same. The difference is to replace both at the same time. It wouldn't be that much more expensive than just the screen alone. You could then salvage the other components and rebuild.

Here's a drawback though: current phone OS's are so light on resources because they're closed ecosystems. Samsung develops one version of Android for their Galaxy S 4 phone, of which there may only be a couple of hardware revisions floating around. In affect, they only write drivers once and only ship with the needed drivers.

A fantasy phone. Uh, right.

A fantasy phone. Uh, right. And which provider(s) would allow this to run on their cell network? That's right, none of them. Cell phone services have strict requirements they must abide by, all of which are set by government. This phone would never be allowed on any service without GPS, for starters.

its neat for a toy

I'm still getting a Galaxy or a Note next but these would be fun to play with.

Inside of a Galaxy S4:


I want a phone with a manual

I want a phone with a manual on/off power toggle switch that cuts power directly from the battery.

great idea. A lot easier

great idea. A lot easier than a lot of dpers are thinking it is. this is actually pretty easy to do

And when I event a new

And when I event a new revolutionary chip I won't build it to your specs... Game over... Not that it isn't a great idea but:

Start with something easy just try to get all the builders to use standard ac/dc jacks and adapters. How many perfectly good cords go in the trash everyday? Industry manages to keep nearly everything from becoming standard no profit in that!

These guys obviously didn't

These guys obviously didn't consult engineers before coming up with this ridiculous idea.