Smartphones will never be forever phones. They might last a bit longer than just a few years, though, if we could just replace the parts constantly break or fail. That’s the thinking behind the PuzzlePhone, whose designers say it could last up to 10 years.
Following in the footsteps of Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone experiment, the PuzzlePhone is designed by a Finnish startup called Circular Devices. The design is built around three modules: The spine, the heart, and the brain. The spine is the central piece of hardware that includes physical buttons, the LCD monitor, speakers, and a microphone. The heart is basically a battery with some additional electronics. The brain, as the name implies, contains the key processor guts as well as the camera. The design is open, and runs a forked version of Android.
In addition to being able to replace modules as they break or become obsolete, the PuzzlePhone would also allow its owners to customize their phone depending on what they need. For example, somebody who needs a little more power could get a beefier brain module while leaving the rest untouched. Somebody who wants to optimize battery could opt for a slower brain that wouldn’t be such a drain on the heart. Gosh, those biological metaphors really work, huh.
Circular Devices optimistically hopes to ship product in 2015. Sure! Great! Given that we’re looking at a concept by a company with no track record working on a tech that no one’s gotten right yet, we’ll believe it when we see it. Still, it’s nice to see people thinking about modular phones in smart, innovative ways.