It looks like Facebook is exploring modular smartphones. The social network has filed a patent at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a “modular electromechanical device” that would allow users to easily swap existing components. This development was first spotted by Business Insider.
The modules in the patent include a touch screen display, speaker, a microphone, GPS and for a device that could even function as a phone, added the report. The patent describes both a phone and a smart speaker as potential product categories. Filed in 2016, the patent shows a main chassis and a series of modules that would be made using 3D printing. The device would change its function by downloading new software depending on the modules it is using.
The application comes from Facebook’s consumer hardware lab, Building 8 that now has several former members of Google’s Project Ara team. Just for a quick reminder, Google was developing its own solution called Project Ara but killed it last year.