Google's Project Ara Has Competition In The Form Of The PuzzlePhone

Circular Devices, the makers of the PuzzlePhone are aiming to increase the life of a smartphone to 10 years, facilitated by upgrades


Google's modular Project Ara smartphone may not be a ready for consumers just yet, but it already seems to have competition. A Finnish startup called Circular Devices is designing the PuzzlePhone that embraces a modular build made up of three major components – the spine, the heart and the brain.

The PuzzlePhone isn't as ambitious as Project Ara, which is obvious given the massive support Google is getting from partner manufacturers, apart from using its internal resources. However, the PuzzlePhone is a lot simpler, which initially could make it a winner in the modular smartphone market.

The device is made up of three main pieces – the spine, the heart and the brain. The spine is the central bit of hardware, consisting of the screen, buttons, microphone and a speaker. The brain, as its name suggests is where the guts of the devices, made up of the processor, etc. and the camera are housed. The heart typically constitutes of the battery and additional electronics that pertain to certain features.

For starters, the PuzzlePhone will run on a forked version of Google's Android operating system, probably due to the versatility of the platform. Users will be able to replace any of the three modules if they break or become obsolete, allowing a certain level of customization that's so far lacking from the smartphone segment.

Moreover, the core founding principal of the project seems to be to extend the life of a smartphone further than the current obligatory 2-3 year period. Circular Devices says it will offer devices with sleeker designs than the current prototypes, while still futurproofing the modules that buyers opt for.

The company says the PuzzlePhone is near the prototype stage and plans to start selling the product sometime in the second half of 2015. However, there's the uphill task of raising further funding in order to reach that goal, and while the technology is promising, it's anyone's guess what the future of PuzzlePhone will be.

TAGS: Circular Devices, PuzzlePhone, Modular Smartphone, Google, Project Ara