Modular phones have been a pipe dream of many tech fanatics for years. We had a small glimpse at the possibilities with Google’s ARA project a few years ago. Obviously, it hasn’t taken off the way we expected it to, but it looks like Xiaomi may still be on the bandwagon, according to a newly filed patent.
Xiaomi filed a patent to the USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office) for a smartphone that’s made up of three pieces (or ‘modules’). Each of these modules houses a different set of internals, depending on the location. They all attach to one another using a sliding rail system, which means users will be able to upgrade their phones themselves – which is the point here.
Xiaomi’s version of a Lego phone
According to the patent, the camera array and some essential circuitry are housed in the top module, with a battery sitting in the middle module, and a speaker and charging port in the lower module. All in all, the composition is very similar to a run-of-the-mill smartphone you’ll know, but some parts are detachable.
Looking at the patent illustrations, at least two of these modules will feature a piece of the display — we reckon a ‘broken’ display won’t appeal to most smartphone users, and ideally, the display would be its own module. At this point, however, we can’t read too much into a patent. Xiaomi still has to develop a prototype and show the world exactly how it functions.
A modular device would, in theory, be completely upgradable and personalisable — depending on your mobile phone needs. Up until now, however, no one’s really been able to execute it in a way that fit the consumer’s need for style and practicality. Remember the LG G5? Now that was a cool phone.
Source: Android Authority