Sunday, November 10, 2013

Modular phone

I typically like to customize gadgets, software, etc., so I was excited when I first heard about Phonebloks. Reducing e-waste, that's a great outcome as well.

Then I realized they didn't actually have any way of making the devices, they were just raising awareness and building a community around what they wanted. There was no Kickstarter to build this thing. Some experts said that the technology wasn't even viable yet.

So, I said, what good is this?

Now it turns out Motorola had already secretly come up with an ambitious project to do this very same thing. And they've teamed up with the Phoneblocks guys. How cool is that!

I almost want to say, "See, maybe it is worthwhile to build hype over an idea, even when there isn't a clear path to execution."

But I can't say that. This is just serendipitous. They didn't cause Motorola to do Project Ara. Motorola was already doing it. Maybe they'll bring something helpful to the table, but what if there was no project Ara? Would they have influenced another manufacturer to take this on?

If you've got a good idea and the ability to make a compelling video, there's not much cost to trying to start a movement. You might even get a career out of it somehow. And, maybe there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you're not misleading people.

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