In many ways, a completely modular phone would be the antithesis of the iPhone. Those iconic smartphones, by design, are not upgradable — at least, not unless you fork over several hundred dollars for a new one. Consumers can't easily take an iPhone apart and see what's inside, let alone install new parts themselves. All that mystery and secrecy makes the iPhone seem kind of magical -- and thus impenetrable to the average user.
Motorola's bet, however, is that consumers will appreciate a more accessible smartphone, one that users can tinker with and repair themselves without having to go to a Genius Bar or another company store for help. (That convenience could also inspire users to hold on to their devices longer, reducing e-waste and countering the trend in the device industry toward shorter and shorter product life-cycles.)
Motorola appears to be so convinced of the modular future that it's partnered with the Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, whose similar Phonebloks concept has won over nearly 1 million supporters. At 10 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Hakkens' Thunderclap will kick off, sending this video to some 378 million people on social media: