A couple of years ago, having a smartphone represented a big difference to one’s life. Today, this is no longer true. With approximately 2,6 billion people around of the world carrying a cell phone, the race now is to come out ahead and develop the next successful model. A novelty that has emerged recently is the modular smartphone, which brings the promise of versatility, which the regular smartphones lack, allowing each user to adjust the appliance to their needs, without holding on to the fixed settings provided by the manufacturer. According to the economist and entrepreneur with a focus on innovation and disruptive technologies Arie Halpern, modular smartphones should grow on the market this year, with new models and parts allowing each user to customize their phones.
Google was the first to introduce this concept in the market by launching its Ara project in 2013. The user would buy a basic smartphone with default settings, and every time he wanted to improve one of these configurations, he’d buy the specific module and fit it to the device base. For example, to take better pictures, the user would buy a better camera module to fit it on their smartphone, thus improving the settings of the appliance. But the project didn’t work out and was canceled in September last year. No justification for cancellation has been given by the company.
Other companies were not intimidated by the competitor’s capitulation, and in 2016, Motorola launched Motion Z Force, the most successful modular smartphone on the market so far. The model allows you to add a speaker, an extra battery, and even a projector to the basic cell phone. The price is still pretty steep, reaching US$720, which pairs with the iPhone 7. In addition to its adaptability, one of the advantages of this model is that it is one of the thinnest smartphones ever released. LG has also put its modular device, the G5 on the market. The extra modules for these models may cost between US$ 7 and US$ 15.
For the moment, it is difficult to guess whether these innovations will fall into the consumers’ taste and become their object of desire. “The idea of adapting a cell phone to one’s needs may be attractive, but, for the moment, it’s still more practical and cheap to buy it ready”, says Arie Halpern.