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Sep 3, 2016

Goodbye moonshot

A long term direction, a big shift making our future electronics more modular and reduce e-waste.

modular phone
This article is part of Phonebloks, a One Army project tackling the e-waste problem. You can learn more

The biggest update on Project Ara happened yesterday, IT GOT CANCELED! Just like that. For Google this has always been one of their moonshots, an experiment that got quite big. It became a multiyear commitment, super close to finish. So why would they cancel?

I mean only 4 months ago back in May they had a major change in their design, promised a developer edition for coming fall and will have the phone completely ready next year in 2017.   Well,  the political correct answer is that they are doing a big cleanup in all their hardware products. Slimming down projects to reorganise the companies structure.

Long story short, Google isn’t taking this to finish. Which kinda sucks, it could have made a massive impact, but perhaps not a massive profit..

So that is that. Those naysayer must feel pretty good about themselves now.

news papers headers

But here is the thing. Phonebloks wasn’t a 2 year go-to market plan, its a vision to make our future electronics more modular and reduce e-waste.  A long term direction, a big shift. Something that takes time, work, failure and effort. Google took a shot with Ara, pushed it forward and are now licensing their technologies to others.

Hopefully others will take over. For now we need to keep supporting initiatives that work towards a modular future. The guys from PuzzlePhone haven’t got a massive amount of resources available but they got the right mindset about setting up a platform and are currently looking for investors. Or get a Fairphone. We know its not as modular. But they take modularity step by step and are doing what they can for sure.

There isn’t an ultimate execution of phonebloks out there just like Project Ara had its drawbacks. But more and more organisations are trying to figure this thing out. Slowly shifting towards modularity.

We know there are many of you out there who believe in this vision.

The way to keep this ball rolling is simply by staying involved,  join our community, pitch ideas, make connections, share news about modularity, and keep it popular. The more interest, the more research and development that companies will put into it. And the sooner there is an ultimate version.  In the last 3 years the need for modularity grew enormously, or as Mr Brownlee likes to put it:

Lets’ stay in this for the long run.


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