The images of Phonebloks we have seen are rather pretty in an Applesque kind of way but are perhaps too ambitious for a small team working by donation to deliver.  The basic idea of a cellphone that you can not only pick and choose parts for but can upgrade or replace on a modular basis is a wonderful idea which allows you both the ability to tweak your phones hardware and throw out less waste when a piece of the phone breaks.  It would be wonderful to see them succeed and with almost a million backers it is possible they will.

Today we heard about an alternative, Project Ara, which was originally a product called Modu from a startup before Google purchased them.  Project Ara will be involve the Motorola, also recently purchased by Google, as well as the Phonebloks team in some fashion but will not aim to make a completely modular phone.  Instead they will provide a shell with the major components and provide add-on slots for extra functionality.  Think of it as more of a BGA motherboard with a bit of RAM and storage installed as opposed to a Raspberry Pi, you will buy a device with basic functionality but can drop in extra components, you might even be able to print them .  Pop over to Hack a Day and see if it passes your BS test.

"Our tips line is blowing up again, this time directing us to Motorola’s Project Ara: a phone with modular components that plug into a base “endoskeleton.” If you missed the news coverage strewn across the web and you are doing a double-take, that’s because Project Ara is frighteningly similar to the (presumed vaporware) Phonebloks concept from a few weeks ago."

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