Project Ara is the phone which jumps to mind the moment modular technology is mentioned, but it appears that a little known smartphone manufacturer might’ve beaten Google to the punch.
Fonkraft, a small crowdfunded company has actually launched the first ever modular smartphone this week – and it actually looks half decent without breaking the bank.
The focus on modular smartphones has been pretty intense over recent months, especially since Google jumped aboard the hype with Project Ara.
This has also been supported heavily by smartphone fans that have regularly criticised battery life and broken screens, which would obviously be user-replaceable with modular tech.
However, Fonkraft can now claim the title of having the first modular phone on the market, after its Indiegogo page went live in April.
It reveals several different pre-set versions of the handset – all of which boast different modules for you to try out.
For example, the cheapest model is the Fonkraft Pilot, which stakes claim to a double battery totalling 4100mAh, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage and a dual-core processor.
The Fonkraft Resolution is a camera favouring handset which uses a larger 20 megapixel camera module over the 8 megapixel offering on the Pilot. It also sports an improved set of power enhancing modules like 2GB RAM and 64GB of storage, with a smaller battery.
A 192kHz HiFi module made from wood is the key addition to the Fonkraft HiFi model, which keeps the 2GB RAM and 64GB storage from the Resolution. Its camera and battery once again takes a hit however to make room for the audio module.
The final version of the phone is called the Fonkraft Elements, and boasts every single module for you to pick and choose from. You won’t be able to have all of them fit onto the chassis at once however, so space is at a premium.
All versions of the phone come with a front facing camera and a 5” display, whilst Android Lollipop is the software that will be included.
Fonkraft’s crowd funding project is offering a surprisingly cheap deal for customers, with the Pilot handset priced at a very wallet-friendly $99 (£65).
Both the Resolution and HiFi versions of the Fonkraft device come in at $199 (£130), which is definitely a good deal, especially considering the 20 megapixel lens included on the music favouring handset.
Finally, if you’re after all of the modular parts for the smartphone then you’ll have to shell out $299 (£195), giving you ultimate freedom on how the phone itself works.
All four models are available with free worldwide shipping, so you needn’t worry about extra cost, whilst third-part manufacturers are allowed to craft extra modules if they wish.
This means that on top of the current batch of tech you can swap in and out of any handset, you will also be getting a selection of extra modules in the future. Fonkraft has even assured potential customers that the company itself is working on extra technology like an improved antenna, 16 megapixel camera and dual sim module which will all be available in the future.
Shipping in September, the Fonkraft smartphone will be available ahead of the Project Ara launch, which still doesn’t have a confirmed date.
Written by Luke Hatfield