Modular smartphones explained: Everything you need to know

One has to admit that all that the smartphone industry has lately been producing is a mere upgrade of the previous versions. Sure, smartphones from Apple, Samsung, and other smartphone manufacturers aren’t that bad, but we are all used to it. The new launches are exciting but not enough to knock one’s socks off. So, what do they have in store for us now? The answer is modular smartphones.

A lot has been going on in the media about modular phones, especially about the most-awaited Project Ara by Google. The launch of LG G5 has also created quite a buzz in the industry. But what exactly is a modular smartphone? Why are the techies and smartphone industry going bonkers about it? Well, we are here to tell you all.

Modular smartphone means…

It is just like a regular phone with all the basic functionalities, but it comes with an option of customization. A modular smartphone has different modules e.g. camera module, battery module, display, etc. packed into a device. If a person does not use his phone camera, (s)he can choose not to buy a camera module for his modular smartphone, thus reducing the cost. To add to this, the user also has the option to purchase the camera module in the future, if he changes his mind.

Customization at its best

project Ara

Remember the first time your father bought you a PC. If yours came in separate boxes with complete designs, please thank your father right now because he went through the pain of picking all the parts (CPU, monitor, keyboard and the mouse) all by himself for you, and that too without having it all available online. You can do that with your phone now, except for the fact that you can get it all online, and this device fits into your pocket just as well as any other phone.

Imagine a future where you have an iPhone with a Canon or a Nikon DSLR. Imagine a future where you have a Samsung phone with Bose speakers. Something, isn’t it?

Besides, how many times have you thought about changing your phone because the camera doesn’t work? Or because the speakers have gone bad? Well, worry you not! With modular smartphones, you can upgrade parts instead of upgrading the entire phone.

There’s a need to know about them

In the smartphone market, it is easy for companies to shove devices down the customers’ throats, let alone if it comes down to doing the same with modules. So, being prepared and literate about the devices to come can only equip one with the knowledge to fight such temptations, when necessary.

Biggest names in modular smartphones zone

Project Ara by Google

The biggest name at the moment in this field is Google’s “Project Ara”. The device is expected to come with all the smartphone functionalities plus six slots to attach modules. The best thing about it is that all the modules fit perfectly into the base.

Modules

Google claims that the device is designed to be used by every single person on the planet. The modules are inserted into the endoskeletal frames of the phone called “endos.” These frames will feature only on Ara phones. The phones will only act as a medium connecting the modules and as a switch. Each module can provide specific features such as medical devices, receipt printers, laser pointers, pico projectors, night vision sensors, or game controller buttons. Sleek and gorgeous, as we expect from Google. And it can operate through voice command!

Fairphone 2

The reason for choosing Fairphone 2 is that you can disassemble the phone right up to the motherboard (reportedly). Components such as speakers, camera, headphone jack and microphone using a Phillips screwdriver. Normally, one wouldn’t know how to fix their phone if a part of it stops functioning or there’s a defect. But, with Fairphone 2 (and sometimes other modular phones), you can just unscrew the part and replace it.

However, the company sources individual components from different firms and not all of them may have the reputation of making quality products. The other names include the aforementioned LG G5 and Nexus. The race for modular hardware is on and is picking pace. My favorite is Google, which one is yours?

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