Why Aren't Phones Customizable (PC Wise)

SSD_ DAVE

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Jan 9, 2017
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I wonder why we can customize our hardware in our phones like we do in out PCs?

I think it a interesting topic, I discussed this with an other enthusiast and he had basically told me ''It may be more environmentally friendly, but phone companies want to keep it a money wasting pace because parts would cost less overall.'' to me this seem similar to the Console lineup we've had for ages.

So why don't we have customizable hardware?? It'd be fun to customize and more eco friendly I'd think.
 

spdragoo

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Oct 17, 2011
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Fun, yes...for those that like to tinker with technology. Eco friendly? I don't think it would provide any particular improvement -- the "fiddly bits" inside would still require special recycling, just like regular smartphone/computer components (to avoid heavy metal contamination, etc.).

The problem, though is twofold. First, you have the size factor. Unlike with desktop PCs, where you can have cases (specialty or otherwise) that provide plenty of room for components (as well as airflow & cooling), smartphones are like laptops: limited space to fit all of the equipment, including heat sinks & (mostly) passive cooling solutions. Adding modularity to the systems takes up more space (either taking away space for additional components or taking away space for the battery/cooling, & other fixed functions), because now you have to allocate space for the larger mounting systems needed, which either leads to a) less space for actual components (i.e. smaller screen, smaller battery, smaller/less powerful CPU, etc.), or b) a larger form factor for the smartphone than a comparably non-modular version.

Second, you have the consumer factor. The vast majority of consumers out there aren't interested in customization on that kind of scale. You see that in the entire consumer electronics market (TVs, VCRs, DVD/Blu-Ray players, etc.) -- which also includes "gamer-oriented" items like game consoles, & non-electronics like automobiles -- where probably 90%-95% (at a minimum, IMHO) of the consumers aren't thinking about customizing the product after they buy it. They want it to a) work out of the box, b) be fairly easy to use, & c) work for a set amount of time before it can't be repaired anymore (assuming they even bother to repair it, as for some devices it's much cheaper to just buy a replacement than to actually attempt to repair it, i.e. DVD/Blu-Ray players). When it comes to smartphones, they want it to make phone calls, send/receive text messages, use the apps they already have picked out (or future apps they hear about), & take pictures & videos that they can share with their friends & family. They don't want to have to deal with multiple camera modules, reconfiguring the phone to add a backup battery, trying to figure out if they want the 1W or 5W speaker for the phone, etc. They just want it to work "out of the box".

Project Ara is interesting, although apparently it's been shelved for now. To be honest, though, Google's claim that it would have "6 billion customers"...well, let's just say that "optimistic", "starry-eyed dream", & "rose-colored vision" don't begin to come close to describing it...
 

SSD_ DAVE

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Jan 9, 2017
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So you're telling me thing Moto Mods things is a bit of a knock off and may die out too?
I couldn't why that wouldn't happen.
 

why_wolf

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Aug 28, 2015
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because everything in the phone is integrated to get it that small. There was an attempt at modular phones but the result was bulky, expensive, Lego brick ugly and frankly a solution in search of a problem.

An article on the rise an fall of Googles attempt. https://venturebeat.com/2017/01/10/inside-project-ara-googles-revolutionary-modular-phone/
 
You cant build a super tiny phone (and as cost effective as possible) with socketed parts on the board to upgrade CPU, memory, on board storage, etc, etc.
It is a combination of cost, physical size issues, and wanting to keep the 2 year old life cycle.

It would not be cheaper to make a phone that way, only cheaper to the consumer to say add more memory or storage for $100 then to buy a new phone for $600-800

There have been many attempts at modular phones but all have been flops.

I would just be enthusasitic if phones were more like computers in the stance that you own the phone you paid for and can do simple things like make a full image backup whenever you want or remove the bloatware.

Yes I am fully aware of what you can do with root (I have rooted most of my phones), but then it is always a toss up where you void warranty and pretty much make the choice between root vs getting any OS upgrades. This should not be something you have to force the phone to be able to do, and have such high costs for doing, on something YOU PAID FOR.
 

gillhooley

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Aug 1, 2006
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Actually there is not, the project is dead.



 

theyeti87

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Sep 15, 2012
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Well darn, last I looked at it was ~ a year ago. There seemed to be some 3rd party support coming along with the production of different modules, but damn. Sad to hear that.
 

spdragoo

Distinguished
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Oct 17, 2011
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Fun, yes...for those that like to tinker with technology. Eco friendly? I don't think it would provide any particular improvement -- the "fiddly bits" inside would still require special recycling, just like regular smartphone/computer components (to avoid heavy metal contamination, etc.).

The problem, though is twofold. First, you have the size factor. Unlike with desktop PCs, where you can have cases (specialty or otherwise) that provide plenty of room for components (as well as airflow & cooling), smartphones are like laptops: limited space to fit all of the equipment, including heat sinks & (mostly) passive cooling solutions. Adding modularity to the systems takes up more space (either taking away space for additional components or taking away space for the battery/cooling, & other fixed functions), because now you have to allocate space for the larger mounting systems needed, which either leads to a) less space for actual components (i.e. smaller screen, smaller battery, smaller/less powerful CPU, etc.), or b) a larger form factor for the smartphone than a comparably non-modular version.

Second, you have the consumer factor. The vast majority of consumers out there aren't interested in customization on that kind of scale. You see that in the entire consumer electronics market (TVs, VCRs, DVD/Blu-Ray players, etc.) -- which also includes "gamer-oriented" items like game consoles, & non-electronics like automobiles -- where probably 90%-95% (at a minimum, IMHO) of the consumers aren't thinking about customizing the product after they buy it. They want it to a) work out of the box, b) be fairly easy to use, & c) work for a set amount of time before it can't be repaired anymore (assuming they even bother to repair it, as for some devices it's much cheaper to just buy a replacement than to actually attempt to repair it, i.e. DVD/Blu-Ray players). When it comes to smartphones, they want it to make phone calls, send/receive text messages, use the apps they already have picked out (or future apps they hear about), & take pictures & videos that they can share with their friends & family. They don't want to have to deal with multiple camera modules, reconfiguring the phone to add a backup battery, trying to figure out if they want the 1W or 5W speaker for the phone, etc. They just want it to work "out of the box".

Project Ara is interesting, although apparently it's been shelved for now. To be honest, though, Google's claim that it would have "6 billion customers"...well, let's just say that "optimistic", "starry-eyed dream", & "rose-colored vision" don't begin to come close to describing it...
 
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