A Modular Smartphone?


There has recently been some buzz about the possibility of making modular smartphones — hopefully to reduce waste as people upgrade modules instead of the whole phone. Now Motorola has joined the movement with Project Ara. This poses many interesting issues for discussion. As suggested in the WSJ, might Google really be interested in destroying profitability in smartphones to grow the market and enhance ad revenue? For that matter, is this technologically feasible? It implies that components are not strongly co-specialized and can be swapped out easily. Even if so, would the compromises to achieve modularity be acceptable? Articles by Melissa Schilling and Etheraj & Levinthal paper adds an interesting theoretical perspective. Lots to talk about in class…

Contributed by Russ Coff

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