Friday, September 20, 2013

Phoneblocks...Predicted by Dalai

Back in the day, I was a Treo fan. In fact, I had probably the first Treo 600 in the state if not the entire Southeast. I spent many an unproductive hour posting on the website devoted to such things, My avatar celebrated the transition from one Treo model to the next, although the second shows my transition to the Sanyo 6600 Windows phone, purchased so I could use LogMeIn from the phone itself, which actually worked well.

Alas, when I didn't share the joy about the release of the defective Treo 650, and its 23 or so MEGABYTES of memory, I was booed off the stage, and I went underground, posting as GWB, who was President at the time. Might as well shoot high. GWB continued to fight the good fight, trying to convince Palm One (now absorbed by HP and pretty much forgotten) to provide things like adequate memory and WiFi, not to mention a stable phone that worked. It is hard for me to imagine, 9 years later, that anyone would even think of buying a phone that was unstable, had even less functional memory than its predecessor, didn't have WiFi, and basically was junk though with a nicer screen. The majority of my opponents on the forum were so thrilled by the concept of a working Treo that they didn't want to acknowledge its rather steep limitations. Rather like the response I've seen to some PACS systems out there.

But GWB was able to think outside the Treo box on occasion, as with this post:

Do-It-Yourself TREO 650

Old 01/01/2005, 11:57 AM  #1 (permalink)

GWB's Avatar

Posts: 277
Well, not really, but here's an interesting idea...

PalmOne designed the TREO, and HTC manufactures it. If you look at the FCC site and the pictures, the TREO 650 is already modular. It looks to me like the radio board can be removed and replaced, and even the chips on the radio board are from yet another maker (Broadcom). I would guess that the main difference between the GSM and CDMA versions are just this radio board (the GSM has a SIM card slot.)

This got me thinking, always dangerous, I know. You have a base circuit board, a case, a keyboard. The other stuff, even the display, is more or less is just plugged in. So, is there a possibility of a Dell-model approach to making these things? I know a lot of the components are surface-mounted to save space. Could things like memory, BlueTooth, WiFi, even the processor, as well as the radio module, be made to just plug in? Then you could order it justs the way you want it, and the tech guy at Sprint could plug it all together for you, or even just order the parts and plug them in yourself? Alternatively, could they do a made-to-order TREO, where you get to specify all these things for factory manufacture?

Having one company in control of hardware and software made sense for Apple, but it just ain't working for PalmOne at the moment. There are still a number of other companies making Palm OS devices. I wonder if we might ever reach the stage with a TREO that we are at with PC's, where it is very possible to build your own machine yourself, or have it built to your specs? You would then of course need a copy of the PalmOS, and that would have to come from PalmOne.

Probably will never happen, but it is an interesting thought.....
GWB is offline  

Now, many years later, someone has rediscovered the Do-It-Yourself Phone. From Dave Hakkens'website and comes a much more professionally-realized vision:

The concept is wonderfully simple:


Phoneblok is made of detachable bloks. The bloks are connected to the base which locks everything together into a solid phone. If a blok breaks you can easily replace it; if it's getting old just upgrade.


It's like an app store for hardware. In the store you buy your bloks, read reviews and sell old bloks. Small and big companies develop and sell their bloks. You can buy a pre-assembled phone or assemble it yourself by selecting the brands you want to support. The choice is yours.
Since I've just ordered an iPhone 5S, I won't be buying a PhoneBlok just yet. But maybe GWB will...

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I guess the question is if its cost effective. Upgradable phones would be great... BUT what would it cost to upgrade it? Assuming you want to buy a "blok" that would upgrade your 4MP camera to 10MP but it would cost $150 for parts and labor, the question is, is it worth it? You can get current penny phones (w/ a contract) that would probably be superior to your outdated Blok phone that needs a couple upgrades. The only benefit I see is not having to sign a 24(?) month contract with the cell company to help subsidize the cost of a new phone. Which I won't even get into.... the whole subsidized phone market has inflated the costs of phones for the consumer who has cash and doesn't want a contract but wants a new phone.