[This is the 5th of 6 insights we gathered from the Consumer Electronics Show this year at Las Vegas, Nevada, United States]
Electronic brands constantly have to line products in its pipeline and release them in increasingly shorter succession to satisfy consumer demands. Bigger screens, faster processors and more storage, pretty soon, we'll all run out of ideas.
What if electronic brands rethink the way they build products and make them modular and friendly to upgrade without replacing the core? If software upgrades can be a breeze, why can't hardware upgrades be the same? Why not put innovation back in the hands of users?
Razer unveiled Project Christine to much fanfare at CES this year. The idea: redesigning the modern computer desktop as a machine with modular components capable of plug-and-play upgrades. The company’s CEO, Min Liang Tan told digitaltrends.com in a recent interview that he is still considering a tiered subscription model to make the system more affordable.
Smartphone and mobile tablet accessory maker, Mophie, currently sets the trend for modular upgrades for the iPhone 5/5S. The Mophie Space Pack, which it launched at CES 2014, essentially double’s the phone’s battery life and storage space (adding up to 32GB).
The 2 products represents the tip of what's possible for future electronic devices.
In late 2013, industrial designer, Dave Hakkens, launched a concept phone with separate modules that can be mixed and combined like LEGO pieces. The project caught the world's attention, with a social reach of more than 350 million people.
ZTE and Motorola have mentioned they are working on a proof of concept based on modular components.
What if we take the idea of modularity and apply it into a field like robotics? At CES 2014, Modbot took the stage at TecCrunch Battlefield to make robotics more affordable with pre-assembled parts and a single servo. It’s potential applications for a hobbyist include building a DIY robotic camera dolly, racing car simulator and prosthetic leg.
As more electronic brands buy into the idea, electronic devices of the future would essentially be ready for plug and play across its ecosystem. Imagine taking the temperature module of a kitchen appliance and inserting it to your phone, you've essentially turned your phone into a thermometer or retrofitting that same module to your robotic home helper. The possibilities are limited only by our imagination.