is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Vice President of User Experience at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. You can reach him through one of the services below.+
This is a crowdfunding proposal to build a new kind of user-upgradeable phone made of modular parts. The concept lets the user swap out components as necessary, so if you feel like you want a faster processor or a better camera or a bigger battery, you can just pop out the old one and replace it with a new one. Similarly, if a single part breaks — like, say, the screen — just that part can be replaced, saving you the pain of having to toss out the whole unit or buy an entirely new one.
The video is incredibly well done and very compelling, though it does seem like an idea that’s too good to be true. I know very little about industrial design but it strikes me that there’s a certain na№vetж to the idea that a commercially and technologically viable phone can be made from a fully modularized, endlessly reconfigurable system of parts. Then again, maybe we’re at a stage in technology where a little bit of na№vetж or audaciousness is all that’s necessary to build something truly amazing. If the Phonebloks team can do it, it will certainly be that. Watch the full video.+