Intrigued by the possibilities of Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone, but overwhelmed by its complexity or simply seeking an alternative? Finland’s Circular Devices might have you covered.
Enter the PuzzlePhone, a planned smartphone that’s dramatically easier to solve than the average jigsaw puzzle, seeing as it has only three pieces. That’s a big part of the charm: it’s modular, but immediately understandable at a glance.
You have the large Spine piece, which includes the LCD display, speakers, and the physical buttons, and then on the back you can slot in the Brain with the processor and camera, as well as the Heart with the battery and secondary electronics bundled in. The mock-up video below shows an older render of the device, but conveys the idea well.
It’ll run a forked version of Android, and the “open and modular standard” will initially support Spines with three different screen sizes: 4.3in, 4.7in, and 5in, respectively. If you shatter your screen or simply want to upgrade any part of the device, you won’t need to sacrifice all of your phone. Just pick and choose the pieces you want to be new and/or improved.
And manufacturers can use the standard to create specialized units with additional RAM, processing power, or perhaps fitness sensors to allow more freedom of choice and customization.
But for now, it’s all still theoretical. Attractive as the mock-ups may be, they are simply projections of what the hopeful eventual device will look like. For now, Circular Devices is trying to round up funding in an effort to have it ready to ship sometime in 2015.
And ZDNet says it’s not the only modular option coming out of the country in the near future. Vsenn, headed up by an ex-Nokia manager from the Android-powered X line, has its own modular Android phone plans on the horizon, although they haven’t even released mockups quite yet. Still, some interesting alternatives to keep in mind as the bigger-name Ara approaches.