Puzzlephone to challenge Project Ara in the modular phone arena
Google’s Project Ara may have some stiff competition to face as Finnish firm Circular Devices has announced that it is working hard in developing its own modular smartphone, called the Puzzlephone. This newly announced rival modular smartphone platform is set to launch next year too.
Following in Project Ara’s steps with replaceable and upgradeable parts in an attempt to create longer-lasting handsets, the Puzzlephone’s concept is based on three elements: Spine, Heart and Brain. The display and speakers of the handset fits to the Spine which provides the basic structure, the battery and secondary electronics attaches to the Heart and the Brain features the processor and camera modules. Each of these three elements can be slid out of the core and replaced. The prototype was created by Rauno huttunen and his team at Versoteq, printed using a 3D printer.
“As we are facing ever greater challenges of increasing consumption and decreasing resources,” Circular Devices explained, “we need new solutions. We need mobile standards that enable resource efficiency as well as platforms for hardware innovation. Puzzlephone was established to create that change – to create a mobile industry that is both ecologically and socially sustainable.”
The designers say that by allowing users to replace and upgrade on both hardware and software front of the handset, the Puzzlephone could last up to 10 years. This idea is identical of that behind Google’s Project Ara, with a focus on the fact that some components in the device may have a longer life-span than others, such as the battery or camera, whose technologies improve at a faster pace than that of speakers and microphones. In addition users can replace broken or obsolete modules. An additional benefit of modular smartphones are that users will be able to customise their devices depending on their individual needs.
The design of the Puzzlephone is open, as the team promises to release standards in order to allow hardware developers and manufacturers to freely build parts for the device. Software wise, it runs a forked version of Android to allow for community development and speedy enhancement over time.
Circular Devices plans to release the first Puzzlephone sometimes in 2015, which is ambitious to say the least, for a company with no track record working on a technology that no one’s got right so far. But it is always refreshing to see developers and designers coming up with innovative modular phone concepts. However, it remains to be seen if the company will be able to beat Ara’s $50 starting price.
Via The Verge.