Puzzlephone might challenge Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone in 2015

Puzzlephone colors

With Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone slated for release next month, it’s not completely surprising that the competition is following close behind. Finnish team Circular Devices is hard at work on launching their upgradeable phone next year too, and it’s called the Puzzlephone.

Puzzlephone frontview

Designed to be easy to repair and upgrade on both hardware and software fronts, the Puzzlephone comprises three modules. The Spine contains the LCD display, speakers and device structure; the Heart contains the battery and additional electronic components; the Brain holds the processor and camera.

The idea, of course, is to allow users to replace modules as they wear out or become outdated, without getting rid of the other components that still have life in them. For example, the LCD screen, speakers and microphone don’t need to be swapped out as often as, say the battery or camera, whose technologies improve greatly every couple of years.

Puzzlephone backview

The phone will also be customizable enough for different users to be able to pair up components that they need most. Theoretically, that means you should be able to go for a large battery with several sensors to monitor your activity and fitness stats, or opt for a high-quality camera instead.

The Puzzlephone team promises to release standards so that hardware developers and manufacturers will be able to freely build parts for the device. As for software, it will run on a fork of Android to allow for community development and rapid enhancement over time.

While a release date hasn’t yet been set, Circular Devices hopes to launch Puzzlephone sometime in 2015. But will it be able to beat Project Ara’s $50 starting price? Oh, and there’s an ex-Nokia program manager’s modular phone project called Vsenn to consider too.

Here’s to the possibility of not having to junk our phones within a year, in the near future.

➤ Puzzlephone

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