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If you want a truly customizable smartphone, get behind Phonebloks

September 12, 2013|By Salvador Rodriguez

Everyone's chatting about the latest iPhones, but the Apple devices are not the only smartphones taking the Internet by storm this week.

The other device would be Phonebloks, a proposed customizable smartphone project that has gone viral on YouTube with more than 4 million views in a little more than two days.

Phonebloks is a new kind of phone that is made out of detachable blocks that can be easily replaced, allowing users to customize their device by picking and choosing the components that matter to them most. 

"Lets say this is your phone and you do everything in the cloud, why not replace your storage block for a bigger battery block?" the YouTube video says. 

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If the project pans out, users could go to a "Blok-Store" to choose the components they want from the companies they prefer, according to the video. 

The Phonebloks announcement comes just one month after the release of the Moto X, a smartphone by Motorola that is customizable. When the Moto X was first announced, some consumers assumed that they could customize the phone’s specifications. But when it rolled out, customers found they could only personalize the device’s color scheme. 

With Phonebloks, users could in theory choose the kind of screen they want, the quality of their camera or how potent they want their loudspeaker to be.

But customization isn't the only motivation behind Phonebloks.

The video for the project actually starts by talking about reducing electronic waste.

"Every day we throw away millions of electronic devices because they get old and become worn out, but usually it's only one of the components that causes the problem," the video says. "The rest of the device works fine but is needlessly thrown away."

With Phonebloks, users could simply throw away and replace the part that doesn't work but keeping using the rest of their phone.

The entire project is being led by Dave Hakkens, a designer from the Netherlands.

Hakkens is hoping users will sign up to support the project and join in on a social "thunderclap" Oct. 29 by posting about Phonebloks on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks "all at the same time spreading all your voices to show the world there's a need for a phone worth keeping."

At this point, it doesn't appear that Phonebloks has gained the support of any companies or major developers, but the demand certainly seems to be there.

The project's website is currently down due to overwhelming interest, which has prompted Hakkens to update the YouTube video post and tell users to try visiting the website Friday and sign up then.

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