Anyone remember Phonebloks? If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it was the concept behind Google’s Project Ara – a modular smartphone which would have allowed users to swap out, upgrade or replace components on a device without needing to buy a new one. The original Phonebloks video went viral five years ago, sparking a lot of interest from consumers. To our surprise, companies like Google, LG, Motorola, and Fairphone took notice as well and before we knew it, we were all caught up in the modular smartphone race.
So… after five years, how far have we come? Dave Hakkens, the creator of the original Phonebloks concept has released a new video which highlights the rise and fall of the modular smartphone.
The overwhelming support for the idea was enough for Google to invest heavily in Project Ara and develop a working prototype which the company intended to bring to market. The sad news is that Google pulled the plug on Project Ara in September of 2016 without giving a reason.
Fortunately for us, the shutdown of the program allowed us to spend some quality time with one of Google’s early Project Ara prototypes. If you want to see what Google’s modular smartphone future would have looked like, take a look at our exclusive hands-on with Google’s Project Ara prototype.