Vsenn's Module Smartphone Offering Pick Your Own Operating System

I love the idea of a modular handset, one that allows me to pick and choose what particular hardware specification I'd like from a device. And there are two businesses working on modular devices at the moment: Google with Project Ara and Vsenn. Both of these will allow the buyer to swap in and out different hardware components; in the case of Vsenn, we'll be able to pick the camera, battery and processor / RAM combination. That sounds great: if I want to combine a modest camera module (or even no camera) with a mid-range processor but a big battery, I can do this. Later on I can buy a high-end camera or a smaller battery, if I want a slimmer design. Now... how about being able to support multiple operating systems? We've already seen HTC try this with the HTC One for Windows, which takes the One M8 hardware and installs Windows Phone onto the device (and in one fell swoop, eclipses all of Microsoft's handsets) and now Vsenn are offering their modular smartphone with a choice of software in addition to the Android option (with it's intriguing four-year upgrade promise).

Vsenn is asked for people to engage with the business and has offered three choices at the moment, these being Sailfish OS, Firefox OS and Ubuntu, offered as part of the ARP (Approved ROM Program). There's no word on Tizen at the moment. Vsenn's only requirements from another ROM is that it's stable and high performance; otherwise, OS developers can offer anything they like. Vsenn will offer full tech support, unlocked bootloaders and even financial assistance. In their own words, "Vsenn will officially provide [developers with] monetary donations, test devices, server space and bandwidth for the Vsenn devices ROMs." That's not a bad deal for software developers at all! If you're interested, hit up the source cited at the end of the article.

For the three choices, we already know that Sailfish OS will run Android applications whereas Firefox OS works using web applications. Ubuntu is perhaps the most interesting as if successfully deployed, it could turn the Vsenn into something approaching a desktop-class computer that fits into our pockets if we're able to dock our smartphone and connect it with a keyboard, mouse, monitor and other peripherals. This may be the lifeline that Ubuntu Touch (the smartphone optimized version of Ubuntu) needs, as we discussed here. Ubuntu needs vendor support, and probably 32 GB of internal storage, to succeed. But over to our readers: what do you think? Do you like the idea of having a modular smartphone in both the hardware and software respects? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.