The lure of modularity
We change our smartphones at least once a year to the next better model. Some of us do so more often, some of us less, but change we will. Technical specications and functionality continue to evolve, but as mobile design evolution goes, we’ve plateaued.
Think of TVs, laptops, tablets or even your local cinema. The content we consume is limited to the size of the screen we consume it from. And our phones have basically become just another screen. There’s nothing else we can really change from the form factor that we’ve reached.
That is why modular design is such an interesting concept. Think about it. A next generation phone may not feature completely new components. Sometimes, it’s just a CPU upgrade, sometimes, it’s just the camera. So, instead of being forced to switch out our entire device every upgrade cycle, why can’t our phones be like a PC where we can replace just the parts to keep it current, or add/remove parts to suit our needs?
Unfortunately, it would seem that a smartphone is nothing like a PC; even Google’s much hyped about Project Ara hit a dead end and a truly modular device remains a pipe dream.
What we do have today from Motorola is an inbetween solution of sorts that successfully provides a working model for modular functionality, if not yet component upgradability. And I think that, at least, is a positive step forward we can begin to embrace.