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Modular phones could open new manufacturing sectors

Friday, February 27, 2015

Subject

The economic and industrial impact of modular phones

Significance

Modular phones are a new way to build smartphones. Rather than a single unit designed and delivered by an individual manufacturer, a frame provides a platform onto which individual modules (such as a battery, camera or antennae) are affixed. The potential for disruption held by this nascent technology is tremendous and modular phones are receiving significant attention, funding and resources from technology firms.

Impacts

  • Phones will begin to see greater adoption in developing markets in 2015 and 2016.
  • If developing region pilots succeed, phones will arrive in the United States in mid-2016 or 2017.
  • If pilots go well and phones see acceptable introduction to developed markets, modular phones could see widespread use by 2018.
  • There may be a novel module industry akin to the app industry today, worth an estimated 25 billion dollars.
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