Facebook Planning A Modular Smartphone? Files Patents Around it…

Looking at the new patent that Facebook has filed, it looks like they want to foray into creating a modular smartphone. Interestingly, similar modular phone concept by Google called Project ARA got shelved!


Facebook Modular Patent

If you remember Project Ara by Google, you can recall the number of difficulties in making something that modular almost 2-3 years back. Although modular smartphones will definitely exist sometime in the future, the technology right now is still in a nascent stage.

Motorola did not make a modular phone but came pretty close to it. It launched Moto Z and Z Play that could attach ‘Moto Mods’ on the back of the phone to make the experience similar to a modular phone. However, this idea is still irrelevant when it comes to making changes to the phone’s internals.

Now, according to US Patent and Trademark Office, Facebook has filed a petition for a magnetic electromechanical device. The description says that the chassis of the device has functional modules that can be connected to it. Each module is associated with different functionality.

The patent was filed back in Jan 2017 and finally has been granted to the requestors. The patent says that the functionality of the device depends on the sequence in which the different functional modules are connected to the electromechanical device.

Details of the Modular Attachments

While the design of the device can be seen in the patent, it still looks very rough. There are a few components one expects in a smartphone – display screen, touch pad, GPS system, speaker, microphone and thermometer.

All these modules have been codenamed 107A(for speakers, 107B for microphone and so on. There will also be modules for processor circuit, interfacing circuit and a memory circuit. The photos also say that there will be a 3D printer but let’s be honest, the company should first focus on getting a prototype out.

It is expected to work exactly like Project Ara device – detect the functional module connected to the device, determine the type of device attached, transmit the request for software, retrieve requested software and provide the functionality of the attached mod based on the features and software.

It is still unclear whether Facebook is actually planning to launch this smartphone or device so because Project Ara could not go through and it was led by some really talented engineers. However, technology has evolved a little bit more, which means Facebook can atleast experiment with this technology.

Source USPTO

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