Google’s modular phone will be held together by magnets

The Phonebloks concept has had a weird ride so far. The original video outlining the concept of a ‘modular phone’ that lets users swap out hardware to upgrade their handset on the fly went viral last year, leading to Motorola announcing plans to work with the team to develop the platform. However, when Google announced that they would be selling Motorola to Chinese giant Lenovo for $2.9 billion it looked like the ambitious concept would be lost in the fine print. 

Ahead of the first Ara Development Conference on 15 & 16 April, Google has released a teaser video showing a few glimpses into the project to create a phone with swappable modules, allowing customers to configure a phone to order and update individual components at a later date… I may not be personally persuaded of the benefits of a modular phone, but I have to admit Google has come up with a very cool feature: there will be no casing holding the modules together – instead, the phone will use electropermanent magnets to lock components into an open skeleton. A momentary electrical charge will switch the magnets on or off, with an app controlling their locking and unlocking.

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