Facebook just filed a patent detailing plan for a modular device with interchangeable parts. The modules shown in the patent include a GPS, a touchscreen, a speaker and a headphone that could function as a smartphone, an Alexa-like smart-home speaker, or a GPS tracker.
Most smartphones come with a few or no replaceable components, meaning that users have to upgrade the whole device instead of a particular part. On the other hand, the modular phone lets users update the phone in parts.
“Conventional consumer electronics have a short life cycle. Consumers purchase consumer electronics that utilize cutting edge technology only to find that their electronics are outdated in the near future… the life cycle of conventional consumer electronics is expensive and wasteful,”-the patent states.
The modular device shown in the patent contains the main chassis and a series of modules, which would be created using 3D printing technology. Based on the modules it is using, the device would change its operation by downloading new software.
The design looks quite familiar. That’s because some of its developers previously worked on Google modular smartphone Project Ara. The project was delayed and in 2016 it was finally abandoned. So, Facebook’s patent surely doesn’t indicate that they are going to develop the product. But if they do, it will surely be a game-changer.