The post-PC Mi­crosoft

HWM (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

Mod­u­lar­ity is hardly a new con­cept – we have an en­tire PC-build­ing in­dus­try that re­volves around the users, and their ever-adapt­ing ma­chines. At its very core, the fun­da­men­tal con­cept holds true: you re­move an older component, and up­date or up­grade it with a bet­ter one, re­peat­ing the process at your own pace, with your own rules.

The mod­u­lar dream has its chal­lenges. While PC-build­ing is the clos­est thing we have to mod­u­lar­ity, it’s not as in­stinc­tively un­der­stood as swap­ping a phone case. Most mod­u­lar smart­phones we’ve seen (be it con­cep­tual or sale-ready) re­volved around re­mov­ing jar­gon and tech­ni­cal chal­lenges. In­stead of hav­ing to worry about ca­bles, com­pat­i­bil­ity, and safety, mod­u­lar phone parts sim­plied all th­ese by turn­ing key com­po­nents into var­i­ous at­tach­ments that re­quire noth­ing more than plug-and-play.

Of course, there are down­sides to over­sim­pli­fy­ing a tech­no­log­i­cal mir­a­cle like a smart­phone. Ev­ery part needed mas­sive re-tool­ing for them to con­form to that mod­u­lar form fac­tor, and it ei­ther cost signicant amounts of money or re­quired ex­cep­tional ta­lent to do so. Take for ex­am­ple Phonebloks and Modu, both whom which ex­plored the mod­ern mod­u­lar phone idea even be­fore Google came on board. Modu had to shut down and sell their patents to Google, and Phonebloks quickly hopped on board with the freshly-minted Project Ara team de­spite hav­ing dab­bled with mod­ules for two years. Phonebloks was also then un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously dis­carded when Google lost in­ter­est in Project Ara.

“Phonebloks was also then un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously dis­carded when Google lost in­ter­est in Project Ara.”

“Modu had to shut down and sell their patents to Google, and Phonebloks quickly hopped on board with the freshly-minted Project Ara team...”

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