Does Xiaomi (still) dream of modular smartphones?

A few years ago it was believed that modular devices were the future of the smartphone market. Indeed, many manufacturers have tried to offer this type of device, but to no avail.

We can particularly remember the Ara project, which was finally abandoned by Google, or the LG G5 which gave users the option to attach models to add functionality. Today you would think that modular smartphones are a thing of the past.

However, according to an article by Android Authority sharing information from the Dutch website LetsGoDigital, the Chinese brand Xiaomi would still dream of modular smartphones. In fact, according to this article, Xiaomi would have filed a patent application for a technology intended for modular smartphones.

Essentially, the document describes devices that consist of three modules and can be connected or disconnected via a rail system. The first module would contain the cameras and the processor, while the second would contain the battery. The screen is on at least two of the three modules.

Let’s not be distracted

But right now it’s just a patent, of course. However, companies like Xiaomi don’t use all of the patents they have. It’s also not certain whether the Chinese brand will ever launch a modular smartphone. But at least this type of document gives us an idea of ​​the technologies that the company’s engineers are thinking about.

As a reminder, modular smartphones can have two advantages. First, since the various elements can be separated, the user can choose the characteristics of his device by selecting a module. The lifespan of the smartphone can also be extended, as a defective or outdated module can be easily replaced.

The brand that comes closest to this ideal is Fairphone. As a specialist in eco-friendly devices, a camera module was launched in 2020 that users can purchase and install on the 2019 model (to improve functionality).

“By creating a market for ethical electronics, we are encouraging the entire industry to act more responsibly. By making the ethical decision to buy a Fairphone, you are signaling to your friends and family how your choices affect people and the planet, ”said Eva Gouwens, CEO of Fairphone, at the launch of this camera module.

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