If I told you that you could buy a smartphone that you could easily upgrade or repair by simply swapping out a part that snaps into place, would that excite you? If so, you might want to check out the PuzzlePhone. It’s a modular smartphone that is very similar to Google’s Project Ara, and it’s being crowdfunded on Indiegogo.
The PuzzlePhone is 100 percent upgradeable, repairable, and future-proof thanks to three easy-to-change modules: the Heart, Spine, and Brain. In other words, you don’t have to worry about buying a new phone every two years since you can simply upgrade or repair specific parts.
How it works
The Brain includes the main electronics or those things that have a shorter life cycle. This includes the processor (CPU), graphics processor (GPU), RAM, storage capacity, and the camera. The Spine includes the display and the electronics associated with it. Finally, the Heart holds the battery and a secondary set of electronics.
The PuzzlePhone includes a 5-inch display with a resolution of 1,080p (1,920 x 1,080). It’s powered by a 64-bit octa-core ARM processor and it includes 3GB of RAM and 16, 32, or 64GB of internal storage.
The rear camera is 12 megapixels along with LED flash, while the front-facer comes in at 5 megapixels.
The rest of the specs include LTE, USB 3.0/2.0 Type-C, NFC, Bluetooth LE 4.2, Wi-FI 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and a 2,800mAh battery.
The software will be Android Marshmallow, or any other candy above it if Google releases a major update before the official launch.
About the company
The PuzzlePhone is the brainchild of Circular Devices Ltd., a Finnish startup. Now before you go thinking that this is some sort of fly-by-night company, it’s not. Circular Devices has been working on the PuzzlePhone concept for over two years.
The Indiegogo campaign is looking to raise $250,000, but that only covers manufacturing setup costs. The R&D is a big chunk as well, and the European Union is covering the majority of that from an agreement reached in September.
Furthermore, Circular Devices says that even if the campaign fails to get fully funded, the project is still likely to move forward based on private funding.
Pricing and availability
There are three levels that backers can choose from.
The Very Early Bird First Edition is limited to 250 backers and costs $333 or 300€. The body will be made of moulded black plastic and will come with 16GB of internal storage. The First Edition is expected to ship September 2016.
The Early Bird is limited to 500 backers and costs $444 or 400€. This one includes a gun-metal logo plate along with a red accent color. The internal storage gets a bump to 32 GB. The Early Bird will ship October 2016.
The Limited Edition is head and shoulders above the others in terms of design and technical performance, according to the company. It’s limited to 250 backers and costs $777 or 700€. It includes copper details and a special edition plate engraved with whatever text you choose. It gets a bump to 64GB of internal storage. The Limited Edition will ship September 2016.
Check out the Indigogo campaign for more information and to get your order in.