Here's why we should build our own smartphones

Chase Bonar
 from  Winter Springs, FL
| March 21, 2013

If you have ever dreamt of building a smartphone to your liking, Guy Kawasaki could be your savior. Well, in a way. Kawasaki took to his Google+ page to foreshadow what you could classify as marketing of Motorola and Google's new X Phone. 

On Kawasaki's Google+ page, he linked to a video of Porsche Exclusive, a car enthusiast's wet dream where you can concoct your own Bavarian beast tailored to your liking. Right down to the threads in the seats, Porsche gives consumers the option to choose almost every fine detail of their ride. Not a fan of Porsche's Doppelkupplung dual clutch transmission? Go for the seven speed instead. Brushed aluminum instead of carbon trim. Ducktail or the full Aerokit Cup. Guards Red. Check. The choice is yours.

Similarly, there have been rumors afloat of Google launching Motorola's X Phone with the freedom of individual customization. How much the buyer will be allowed to customize is unknown, but it's safe to say that customization of any sort is reason to be excited. Choice is good.

But sports cars and smartphones intersect at a very different crossing, so where would a customized smartphone fit among the current crop of flagships? There's no simple answer to that question since we don't know if the rumor is even true. However, the idea of creating a smartphone that suits your needs is not far fetched at all. In all honesty, building your own smartphone is good for all parties involved. But don't take my word for it, here's why.

It's an opportunity to save money and be happy.

Purchasing a smartphone has got to be a stressful time for consumers who don't know what to expect. There are a million different ways to persuade one person an operating system is better than the other, or why a screen is the perfect size. It's easy to get overwhelmed and feel uneducated. No one likes to feel these things.

To make matters worse, manufacturers are making a killing off each sale. No matter how you slice it, the price difference between 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB smartphone prices are at the advantage of the OEM. Storage options make up a large chunk of profit on the bottom line of a bill of material. The point is, consumers given the option to choose what they feel they need in a device will empower them. There might be a learning curve to the process, but judging by the speed the industry flows, differentiating between processors, cameras, and battery sizes will encourage people to learn.

Just how specific each phone can be tailored is still up for debate. Building a smartphone will be a niche product, but it will make those who know exactly what they want extremely happy. Paired with the encouragement to sacrifice certain features for others, consumers will get to experience the technology that goes into each handset and make sense of it all in the process. It's an unparalleled opportunity for those who are willing to learn.

To top of it off, consumers will be able to sacrifice what they need from what they simply want, by seeing price differences. This will outline importances of features and allow people to fully commit to their purchase instead of being convinced they're making the right choice.

It's the next logical step in the mobile market.

And it's ok to be fashionably late to your own party. There might not be a following at first, but judging by the freedoms consumers would get by building their own device, manufacturers have a lot to gain from the experiment. It's a risk worth taking and a valuable option.

Google and Motorola's partnership has been rocky at best. They recently announced a cut of 1,200 employees, about 10% of Motorola's workforce, citing high costs and competitive markets as the culprit. Though Google and Motorola's cuts could be viewed as drastic and unexpected, it lines up with the risks associated with the venture. No matter how you cut it, manufacturers bare the burden of researching and developing every single smartphone. What Google and Motorola will effectively surmise is a cut from this sector of business which would make way for the new area of focus: marketing. Plenty of manufacturers have found the value in marketing already, but for those who haven't, a customizable smartphone tailored by the consumer would be a good time to start. Google and Motorola would have the edge.

We're staring right at a potential game changer in the market. Where manufacturers are frantically acquiring patents, owning the technology might not be as valuable as facilitating it. By allowing consumers to build their device, the divide between OEM's will further grow, allowing consumers to reap the rewards of personalization at the expense of legal disputes between similar looking smartphones.

In other words, building your own smartphone is an opportunity for all parties to win. The manufacturer lets the consumer do the research and the consumer only has Google to look at for complete customization (at least for now). The result is a potentially homogeneous relationship between consumer and manufacturer.

You can build your own computers, so you should be able to build smartphones, too.

As we edge closer to the crossing of paths between computer and smartphone, consumers are becoming more aware of their similarities. Look no further than hybrid devices like phablets to see how devices are evolving. New functions of phablets highlight the productivity of tablets.

Most of the time, manufacturers pitch new and wild ideas with their new devices. Whether hardware or software features, OEM's bare all at every press event where something new is announced. It's risky for them, and unnerving for consumers who already know what they want in their next device.

It's getting to the point where consumers are being let down by a certain feature they so firmly desire. Removable batteries. Expandable storage. LTE. Kickstand. You name it. There is no perfect device. Let's be honest, every time you have a choice, it's a good thing, and building a smartphone is no different.

We've had the option to build computers for quite a while. You might not have the desire, or passion to learn how to build one, but it's been an option nonetheless. Computers are much more intimidating, and smartphones bare the potential to capitalize on this by letting consumers into the inner workings of what goes into a smartphone. Google and Motorola could bare the brilliance while letting consumers win by simply offering the choices.

In short, building your own smartphone is the next logical step in the mobile market, like clapping comes at a press conference. Except this time, the applause is optional.

Would you want to build your own smartphone? Why, or why not?

Image via Google+.