A phone worth keeping



Phonebloks plans to Thunderclap social media on Oct. 29.

The new phone design, created by Dave Hakkens of the Netherlands, is designed to last forever. The idea is to reduce global electronic waste.

Hakkens proposes a phone that allows users to swap components rather than replacing the whole unit when something breaks or when updates are made available.

 Thunderclap is the platform that Hakkens and his team have chosen to get the attention of major tech-companies. Supporters can sign up to lend their social media reach for the cause.

On Oct. 29, a mass output of tweets, facebook and tumblr posts with the same message will be released at 10 a.m. from the profiles of participants.

However, the message is only sent if the organizers meet their subscription goal. The Phonebloks goal is set at 900,000 and as of Monday morning they had 885,856 supporters.

“This is the largest campaign in Thunderclap history,” said Chelsea Orcutt, head of outreach at Thuderclap, “which is impressive considering the campaign is run by an individual.”

The creators of Firefox ran its last large campaign on Thunderclap and, before that, the U.N. launched a campaign for Humanitarian Day.

“One guy is able to rally all of this support and it’s in part due to his video on YouTube that went viral,” said Orcutt. “I think that it looks like a really cool concept.”

The phone is designed with individual Lego-like “bloks” attached to a main circuit board. The “bloks” can be mixed and matched according to the owner’s preference.

“It’s pretty cool. It’s the ultimate combination of custom, choose-your-own-adventure and environmental responsibility,” said Steve Jupp, 34, past co-owner of Wiring Entertainment, in Grimsby. “The only problem that I can see is that anything that has been built either indestructible or easy to fix, has led to the company not lasting.”

Jupp is reminded of the Apple-1, which was sold as a circuit board but the user had to add their own keyboard, power supply, case and video monitor.

The question remains as to whether smartphone companies will respond to the campaign. If a large market shows a desire for the product, the phone companies will capitalize on the need and produce something similar.

Phonebloks is not copyright; anyone is invited to take the idea and run with it. Hakkens’ only request is to be kept in the loop as he may have some more ideas.