When it comes to modular devices, in the world of smartphones this camp is primarily held by Google's Project Ara device. No modular smartphones are yet on the market for consumers, and while Project Ara may be at the forefront of people's minds for a type of smartphone they can essentially build to their own specifications, it is not the only option. A new type of modular smartphone has just made its way to Indiegogo today called the Puzzle Phone, a device which lets consumers build and upgrade the components to fit their needs, much like what is going to be possible with Project Ara devices when they are made available.
The idea behind the Puzzle Phone is to give consumers a user-friendly product that can grow and evolve with them as their needs change, giving them a sustainable device which carries more longevity than today's offerings. To do this, the team behind the Puzzle Phone has designed a device that is comprised of three different modular components, called "The Brain," "The heart," and "The Spine." Each module contains a portion of the hardware which makes up a smartphone, with the brain holding things like the CPU, the GPU, the camera sensor, RAM, and storage, pieces described as the main electronics and potentially having a shorter lifecycle. The Heart contains the battery and other "secondary electronics," while the Spine is the frame of the device which houses the display panel and screen and where the other two modules are fitted into.
The current Indiegogo offerings come in three different types, the 1st Edition which comes with 16GB of storage, the Puzzle Phone which comes with 32GB of storage, and the Limited Edition which comes with 64GB of storage. Each edition model also comes with a different color for the metal plate on the back. All other specs however are the same, as the Puzzle Phone in any edition sports a 5-inch Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1280, a 5MP front-facing camera and a 12MP rear-facing camera with LED Flash, a 280mAh battery, an ARM-based 64-bit octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, with connectivity to 4G LTE Cat6 and support for NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, GPS, and WiFi 802.11ac.
The phone will also support USB Type-C for charging and data transfer. While these are respectable specifications, keep in mind that the phone is meant to be upgraded, so these are likely set as a standard but eventually there should be options for consumers to swap modules out as needed or desired for something more powerful or conservative. The Indiegogo campaign for the Puzzle Phone is now live with the 1st Edition starting at $333, while the Puzzle Phone edition goes for $444, and finally the Limited Edition goes for $777. Both the 1st and Limited editions will be limited to 250 units each, while there is a plan to support 500 total backers for the Puzzle Phone edition. Alternatively, the Puzzle Phone Edition will also come in any of the three available storage sizes of 16GB, 32GB, 0r 64GB, and will have an estimated delivery date of November 2016, while the Limited Edition and 1st Edition models are set for an estimated delivery date of October 2016.