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Science
23 Jul 2017

Is Facebook coming with 'modular' smartphone?

Facebook is now treading where Google has failed

Facebook has now filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a 'modular electromechanical device.'

The social-networking giant appears to be delving into creating a device that will have the ability to integrate a speaker, microphone, touch display, and GPS.

This device sounds like another take on the modular phone format, something that has always intrigued the tech behemoths.

Here's more!

In context

Facebook is now treading where Google has failed
Why is it a big deal?

Modular

Why is it a big deal?

As per the concept, modular phones allow the consumers to nitpick his/her preferences and also have more longevity than the typical one year cycle that devices enjoy now. Needless to say, the tech-world was quite hyped.

However, it didn't quite take off as one expected.

Google's Project Ara, the most promising of the lot, also failed.

Lego

How does it change the smartphone game?

The idea is to build your own version of the phone with Lego-like electronic components. So, you get to choose what you would like to incorporate.

A bigger battery or a better camera, so on and so forth. You start with a base module and you build up on it with available add-ons.

So, you get an amalgamated device perfectly tuned to your needs.

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Have we reached anywhere on this idea?

Moto Mods

Have we reached anywhere on this idea?

We have certain variations available in the market. One of the prominent ones is the Moto Mods.

You can snap in a battery, or a camera in it. However, those are not primary components but added ones, which means even if you take them away, the phone will have those functions.

There are also battery covers for iPhones, both third party and official.

Google

Tapping into the failure

Interestingly, several of the key members of Google's dud Project Ara are working with Building 8 aka Facebook's consumer hardware lab that's behind this patent application.

Moreover, four members, mentioned in the patent filing, have earlier worked in Nascent Objects, a start-up, acquired by Facebook last year that worked on using 3D printing to bring out modular prototypes of gadgets.

It's not just a phone, it's almost a new industry

Facebook

It's not just a phone, it's almost a new industry

If Facebook manages to do what Google failed, it would, in all senses, revolutionize the way of using handsets in the future. However, things are easier said than done.

Making a modular phone won't be the end. Ensuring that there are proper add-ons available with passing time will also be necessary.

It would require a separate phone add-on manufacturing industry itself.

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