Sennheiser and Phonebloks are teaming up, with the audio company today announcing that they are an official partner of Phonebloks. They are partnering to provide assistance with the audio portion of Google's Project Ara devices.
Phonebloks provided the foundational idea behind Project Ara. The company was originally founded by Dave Hakkens, a designer in the Netherlands. His idea was to create a phone that could be replaced piece by piece, upgraded when you wanted to, and have it be something that you kept for longer than the standard two year phone cycle that consumers in the U.S. have adopted. The result of this idea was a modular device that had interchangeable parts. Upgrading would become easier than ever, and the device would be far better for the environment because consumers wouldn't be throwing away their old phones. The idea opens up a world of opportunity for developers and consumers alike, both in the area of upgrading when you want or need, and in the level of customization provided.
"Every time we discard a gadget, we throw away many valuable components that are still in perfect working order," Hakkens said earlier this year. "Phonebloks' vision is to conserve natural resources and thus ensure sustainable development. Rather than buying a completely new smartphone every two years, all you will need to do with Phonebloks is replace the parts you want to upgrade."
Hakkens announced the Phonebloks project in September of 2013. Google announced Project Ara one month later, and the two companies teamed up at that point to work on the project together. Now Sennheiser joins that partnership to help develop the things on the audio side. Their contributions could include audio transmission, speech function and recognition, as well as anything else related to sound.
"Sennheiser has the necessary technical excellence and also shares a corporate philosophy that places equal emphasis on sustainability," said Hakkens in a statement. "Its products are distinguished by first-class quality and durability and they also provide the option of replacing individual components. This sustainability ethos is an essential part of our company vision."
We don't have any other idea about Sennheiser's involvement at this time, but Google is aiming for a public beta launch of a Project Ara device by January 2015. A lot has to happen before that becomes a reality.