One of the most interesting concepts to hit the public consciousness this year was modular design. The best example (or at least the most well-known so far) of a modular concept is Google’s Project Ara. This in short is Google’s attempt to make a smartphone which is highly customizable, not just in software, but also in hardware. Modular means modules and Project Ara will offer a plug-and-play type device where owners can literally swap out features from their phone and replace with either different features or upgraded features. To give you an example you currently have a 13MP camera on your Ara phone. Next year all the rage is 16MP cameras. Do you buy a new phone for the new camera and technology? Not with Ara! You buy a new module, take out the old one and put in the new one. Hey presto! Your device is now current again. So modular is a very interesting take on how we will purchase and use smartphones in the future.
It’s now clear though that this technology is not resigned to only smartphones. Back at the start of 2014, an interesting UK company starting working on the concept of a modular smartwatch, dubbed ‘Blocks’. In short a smartwatch which allows its users to swap in (or out) new features. Similar to Ara modular smartwatches will offer its users the ultimate customization. Today you have a pedometer on your smartwatch, tomorrow you are off to the Grand Canyon so you replace the pedometer with a camera module and so on and so on. Well Blocks has largely been at the concept/prototype stage for some time although recently it has started gathering more momentum. Back in July reports emerged that Blocks had opted for Android Wear as the operating system although some worried this might limit the modular scope. Well those worrying about this can now rest assured. Today the company behind Blocks had announced that it will be powered by Tizen operating system (the collaboration between Samsung and Intel) and will come with support for iOS, Android and Windows devices. The goal of this will be complete open-source both in terms of software and hardware offering owners the ability to truly customize their new smartwatch.
So what do you think? Are you interested in modular devices or just see this as a bit of a gimmick. For those seriously interested reports are suggesting you will be able to register your interest for the device starting tomorrow although this does not seem to have been confirmed by the company itself yet. Either way today’s news does certainly reiterate the device is getting closer. It seems they have a new promo video out as well which is rather operatic and dramatic. Check the video out below and let us know what you think.