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Re: [newtech-1] Modular phone concept

From: user 1.
Sent on: Friday, October 25, 2013 11:45 AM
No, and here are just a few top-of-mind reasons for saying so:

- This is certainly possible with PC components today, yet only hard-core techies tend to assemble their own systems.  Most people prefer to buy complete systems and let someone else do (at least most of) the integration.

- Microsoft just jumped into hardware with their Surface work, because they realized that the software-only approach isn't resulting in a competitive product in the mobile space (and anything not part of the 'core' device needs ramp-up time if it's not there from the beginning stages).    Google licenses Android but only because they have close partnerships, as well as a (relatively) mature and well-entrenched mobile OS - and they still make a core device (Nexus) as a proof-of-concept.  

- It's still an evolving ecosystem as more hardware functionality gets embedded (i.e. GPS, NFC, etc. all came after initial releases).  Such new features can't be 'snap-on' - it'd be a MAJOR effort, and security and quality nightmare, to allow "snap-ons" like these to update the base O/S with code that affects so much of the O/S stack.

- Although it would be theoretically possible, it would greatly bulk up the size of the phone, as each component would have to standardize its connectors (as well as its software/RAM/ROM interfaces) rather than optimize for an integrated device.

- There's no incentive for the manufacturers to do this.  In addition to all the above, why would they want to sell you the "backplate" only and lose control of the rest of the handset?  Apple and Samsung (primarily) create great devices because they own pretty much the entire device (I say "pretty much" for Samsung) and can ensure quality.  Can you imagine Samsung selling the "base" and people snapping in "Joe's GPS module" and "Sam's discount radio chip?"  Who would you blame for system failures or battery drain?  Samsung, because it's the only common element.... but all these components require low-level access.  Apple controls quality end-to-end, because they control all the hardware AND all the software at this point, as all (legal) apps have to go through their approval.  

It's a nice idea from an environmental concept, but it's not going to happen.  I remember the Dell "hot-swappable Intel CPU's" from the '90's... that lasted one generation when you could swap in a double-clocked chip if you paid for another one... but the very next generation was incompatible.  Technology moves too fast for these systems to be all vertically and horizontally compatible for more than a few months, even if someone did try.

On Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 9:44 AM, KCJoyce <[address removed]> wrote:
Apologies if this has been covered before (I see I'm about 6 weeks late to the party), but is this concept likely to take off? It seems to solve the problems I've had with every smart phone -- too much of one thing, not enough of another, one crucial bit broken (or outdated) while the rest of the device still seems fine. As an environmentally concerned person, and a reluctant shopper, I like the idea of upgrading and replacing components rather than phones. 
But, lacking the expertise of others on this list, I'd really benefit from a critical and skeptical commentary by any interested contributors. 
N.B., I have no financial or personal stake in this product; I'm just curious. 

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