It seems like most people get a new cellphone every year these days – and while that’s good news for phone manufacturers and telecoms, it’s not helping our wallets or the environment. Enter PhoneBloks – a brilliant concept phone made from a series of modular components that can be snapped together like LEGO bricks. As technology continues to evolve at an ever-increasing clip, individual parts of the phone can be swapped out instead of tossing the whole thing away.

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Instead of the wasteful smartphone upgrade process that creates landfills of discarded phones, designer Dave Hakkens suggests a new type of phone made up of modules, or bloks, that can easily be replaced over time, piece by piece.

Want more storage? Take out the old memory module and replace that. You could do the same thing for the processor, camera, screen, and virtually any piece of the entire phone. The only thing that stays the same is a board that all the modules plug into like LEGO pieces.

It seems like a simple idea that someone should have built already, but while the concept is feasible, this new modular design introduces some problems in reality. You could theoretically take all the guts out of a smartphone and make them modular, because they already start off as individual parts. However, creating enclosures and universal plugs for each piece would make your device much bigger than pocket size and more expensive as well. Also, don’t drop it – otherwise you’ll have a phone split in more pieces than just a cracked screen.

The idea of being able to take apart, fix and improve consumer electronics is enticing, and the phone has already caught the world’s attention with a “social reach” of nearly 250 billion people – but we’ll remain skeptical until it actually happens.

+ Thunderclap

+ PhoneBloks

via Grist