A new modular smartphone called the PuzzlePhone is now seeking crowdfunding on Indiegogo, and has so far raised more than $43,000 in one day, from 100 backers. The project was actually launched last December, by a startup company operating in Helsinki, Finland.
The team which masterminded it has already received money for research and development, thanks to Horizon 2020 grants (offered through the EU Research and Innovation programme) and support from Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for innovation).
Now, the creators have turned to the popular crowdfunding platform in the hope to draw $250,000 in flexible funding. This means that even though they might not fulfil the campaign’s objective, they will still get to keep all the contributions made by users.
Flexible funding is usually preferred by shadier companies, which has spurred concerns that even PuzzlePhone may not be a legitimate initiative. However, creators have said they had no choice but to opt for this payment method because fixed funding can only be done via PayPal.
As they explained, they wanted to provide their supporters a wider range of payment options, in order to make the process more easily accessible and convenient. The money will be directed for manufacturing, assembling, testing and shipping the product.
Promoted under the motto “Upgradeable. Sustainable. Incredible”, the device is a smartphone featuring Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which users can easily customize or repair.
According to its creators, the eco-friendly PuzzlePhone is built to last, and features a simple design, which includes three essential parts: a heart, a brain and a spine.
The heart contains the battery (2,800 mAh at the moment), as well as a second set of electronics which can be personalized depending on the user’s needs.
The brain features components which normally have a reduced lifespan: the RAM (3 GB currently), the graphics processing unit, the processor (64-bit octa-core), the camera (5 megapixels at the front, and 12 megapixels at the rear), and the internal storage (which varies based on the chosen model).
In contrast, the spine provides the phone’s structure and contains elements which have a longer lifecycle, such as the LCD screen, which is originally a full HD 1920 x 1080 5-inch display.
These interchangeable modules can be upgraded, changed or fixed based on the user’s new requirements or on the damage suffered by the phone. For instance, if the customers wants to boost storage space, only the Brain of the phone has to be altered.
When the screen breaks, the Spine can be replaced, and when the cell needs a new battery after the old one has died, installing another Heart will be sufficient.
The 3-part structure may cause extra waste in comparison with Google’s Project Ara , since upgrading the camera for example requires the user to revamp the entire brain of the smartphone, but on the other hand it simplifies the manufacturing process greatly.
Once the project receives the necessary funding, it is expected that customers will have to wait until September 2016 for the products to be delivered.
The first 250 backers who pay $333 as part of their pledge qualify for the “very early bird” offer, and will receive the first edition of the PuzzlePhone, with black plastic, and 16GB of internal storage memory.
The first 500 supporters shelling out $444 will get the 32 GB version of the PuzzlePhone, with red accents and metal plate detail. In addition, the first 250 users who fund the campaign with at least $777 will be sent a limited edition of the device, with copper details, a personalized engraved text on the cover, and 64 GB of internal storage memory.
Image Source: Indiegogo