Google’s modular phone concept, Project Ara, has taken a little longer to develop than some had hoped — it’s apparently having issues with the attachment/detachment system and the number of possible permutations.

Finnish company PuzzlePhone is hoping that leaves room for competition, with its own take on the modular smartphone expected to hit Indiegogo next month. PuzzlePhone is, however, less ambitious than Ara, with just three replaceable components … 

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The company describes them as the brain (the electronics), the spine (the display) and the heart (the battery). I might have swapped the names of the latter two, myself.

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The brain contains the CPU, GPU, RAM, flash memory and cameras. Unlike Ara, you won’t be able to swap these individually – but the heart will apparently contain some user-selectable secondary electronics, alongside the battery. The spine comprises the display, and also provides a choice of materials and sizes.

However, while the PuzzlePhone appears to offer improved aesthetics in return for fewer customization options, don’t expect to take delivery of it any earlier than Ara. The company is estimating delivery in Q3/Q4 next year, by which time Google is likely to have launched Ara in at least some markets.

Tech consumers seem to have taken well to the modular concept, the BLOCKS smartwatch having already raised more than a million dollars in pledges against its $250k target. And if you’re looking for another Ara alternative, be sure to check out the Fairphone, which is both modular and puts focus on having sustainable design, manufacturing, and life cycle.

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