Modular smartphones are almost here. With Google’s Project Ara all set to be released as a pilot in Puerto Rico sometime within the next twelve months, the ability to hot-swap individual parts for our smartphones is about to become a reality. But project Ara doesn’t have to be the only choice for modular smartphone enthusiasts. Ever since Dave Hakkens uploaded the now famous Phonebloks video some two years back, there have been various other startups promising exactly what Google has been promising for some time now. While there are lingering doubts about the ability of many of these projects to deliver, there are no shortage of enthusiasts who believe that this is indeed the next big revolution in the smartphone industry that has remained largely staid for the last few years.
It is one of these new upstarts that has now landed in a bit of hot water. Fonkraft, an Australia based startup founded by Sebastian Mayer and Matthias Berger had launched a campaign on crowdfunding website Indiegogo just a few days ago, claiming to need funding to the tune of $50,000 to deliver modular smartphones for as low as $99. Unfortunately though, it looks like that isn’t going to happen any time soon. That is because the project has now been pulled from Indigogo. The website gave no specific reason for their action, but their ‘Trust and Safety Team’ apparently send E-Mails to all the backers and contributors telling them about the cancellation of the project and refunding them their money.
What makes the situation worse, is that no official word has been forthcoming from Fonkraft itself or either of its co-founders since the cancellation of the project, leading many to question whether this whole thing was a scam to begin with. Only time will tell whether it is a mistake on the part of Indiegogo to cancel a legitimate endeavor or whether they were actually able to catch would-be scammers in time, thereby saving some innocent investors their hard earned money. While details about the reasoning for these actions remain largely scarce for the moment, more will surely pop up in the coming days and weeks ahead.