Handset plans to use replaceable block components in order to reduce waste

LEGO-style Phonebloks concept shown off

A new mobile phone concept plans to create a phone that never needs replacing by using replaceable block-like components.

Phonebloks is a phone built around a base, into which ‘bloks’ are connected. The bloks contain components focused on certain aspects of the phone – the camera, speed, storage or battery, for example.

Creator Dave Hakkens’ target is the growing amount of electrical waste created by phones that are thrown away after breaking a single part.

By having the separate, easily-replaced bloks, Hakkens hopes that any faulty parts can be popped out and repaired with a working blok, meaning the whole phone will never need to be thrown away.

The other benefit of the proposed bloks system, explains Hakkens, is the ability to customise the phone for individual lifestyles.

He gave examples such as a photographer who would substitute connectivity for a better camera, a cloud worker who would replace internal storage with a bigger battery and an older user who would “keep it simple” with a big battery and speaker.

Although a phone that never needs replacing may seem like a barely profitable service, Hakkens reassures potential investors that although accessories such as cases would remain universal for the non-changing shape of the phone, subscriptions for updated bloks and a ‘blokstore’ to purchase different components would generate cashflow.

“Third-party companies can develop and build bloks for the platform,” Hakkens explained.

“In the blokstore they are sold and the money is divided between the companies and Phonebloks.”

The concept, if successful, could also extend to devices like cameras and tablets.

Hakkens is currently looking for partners to develop and produce Phonebloks, and has posted a video explaining his idea on the Phonebloks website.

He hopes to spread awareness through the “crowd-speaking” platform Thunderclap, crashing the website’s servers with traffic to the Phoneblocks Thunderclap page.

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