This week we bring you our pressing topic of the moment straight from our reader-driven discussion boards! We recently caught wind of Google's plan to deliver their Ara modular phone concept to consumers in 2017, a cellphone with a magnetic modular backboard for different gadgets like speakers, camera lenses, storage space, etc. (You may remember the origin of this idea from Dave Hakkens' viral Phonebloks concept video.)
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Needless to say, designers are toggling with quality of such a solution by Google. Core77 discussion board member Cyberdemon says:
"I'll chime in that my predictions 2 years ago remained correct - they went away from the 'Everything modular' approach to a 'smart phone with a bunch of USB connectors for accessories'.
It's more logical than trying to interconnect the deeply complex inner workings, but makes it easier to enable things like a modular camera, sensors, or batteries like they've chosen to do.
It's still an interesting project, but people have already created smartphone platforms in less 'modular' ways (see iPhone credit card readers, barcode scanners, snap on DSLR lenses, etc) so now it's really more about the packaging than the technology."
Core77-er mo-i also brings up a few interesting points about the lasting potential for such an interchangeable object with many small parts—"These concepts show the limitations of physical product design in a hurting way...I mean, interesting idea. I like it, but I doubt there is a mass market for it. Isn't ruggedness one of the sales factors in phones for the last years? How do you get those connections water tight and lasting?"
So what do you think—is this a clever step forward or a sloppy solution to marrying the benefits between interactive design and physical design elements? How could Google rethink this to make it more sustainable?
Share your thoughts and design insights in the comment feed below!
(Also feel free to check out the original post and contribute on our discussion board!)