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Brief Published: 22 Dec 2014

PuzzlePhone: Modular Smartphone


Following on from the buzz around Motorola's Project Ara, Finnish company Circular Devices has unveiled PuzzlePhone – a modular smartphone made from swappable parts that means the device can be upgraded without replacing the entire handset.

The PuzzlePhone allows consumers to personalise their device through both software and hardware – tailoring their smartphone to meet their exact needs. Additionally, along with creating their own components, Circular Devices plans to open up the standards to allow other companies to create compatible hardware. For more on this mentality of open-source and customisable design, see Outsider from our Design Democracy Industry Trend.

The smartphone is made from three distinct components; the brain, which contains the processor and camera; the heart, which contains the battery; and the spine, which is the main body of the phone, including the LCD screen, speakers and microphone. LCD screens can last up to 10 years – far longer than the current average use of a smartphone – so with the ability to replace the battery or processor, which tends to wear out more quickly, the device can be given a significantly longer lifespan.

Modularity is becoming increasingly popular in the electronics industry to elongate a product's lifespan and reduce the vast amount of e-waste created, while still allowing for upgrades as technology improves. See Ethical Electronics for more on the growing desire for ecologically sound tech.

Look out for more technology releases in our coverage of International CES, coming early next year. In the meantime, look back to our coverage of this year's show.