Xiaomi has patented a modular smartphone concept with three interchangeable parts.
For many consumers and OEMs, modular smartphones have been a pipe dream, but just a few have developed actual devices. Xiaomi may be the latest company to imagine a modular device, according to the new patent filing.
The concept of a modular phone isn’t new, and a few businesses have tried to bring it to life. The closest we got was the LG G5’s failed attempt at modularity, but the Fairphone is also pushing modularity for the purpose of sustainability.
Motorola’s Moto Mods technology, which allows users to effortlessly snap on additional rear panels that add functionality, was likely the most successful in this space. Notably, even without these, Motorola’s phones were fully functional.
Xiaomi also appears to have more modular ideas, this time centered on smartphone cameras.
LetsGoDigital commissioned Concept Creator to create a concept render of the smartphone based on the images in the patent application.
The Three Modules
Xiaomi devised a system that allows only specific parts of a phone to be removed. While the phone’s core components, such as the battery, screen, and logic boards, remain unaltered, the camera modules and bottom ports can be switched out.
Two of the three modules have screens, and when they’re joined together, they form a big display panel with no visible seams. A rail-like sliding mechanism is used to attach and remove the modules.
The top module will house the phone’s processor, RAM, and storage, as well as the rear cameras. The middle module will be entirely made up of batteries, while the bottom module will house the USB charging port as well as the speaker.
The patent also depicts the phone’s bottom part sliding out, however no indication is given as to what it can be used for. Because of how the speakers and charging ports are positioned on the phone’s edge, it could be a bit of a pain.
The modular phone can switch between modules with square camera bumps and those with cameras in a single column. The renders, on the other hand, show a module with a second screen on the back, ideal for taking selfies with the cameras.
Two different types of camera modules have been demonstrated and described by the company. One of them is a square-shaped camera system with a triple-camera setup and an LED flash, similar to the Redmi 9C smartphone design. A quad-camera vertical camera layout is also available. A periscope zoom camera is indicated by the square-shaped lens at the bottom.
The documents don’t say anything about the front-facing camera. At this time, the front camera is most likely to be housed in a punch-hole notch on the display, although the business could possibly utilise under-display camera technology.
Will Xiaomi’s Patent Become a Reality?
Xiaomi’s patent does not guarantee a future modular smartphone from the company. The company routinely asserts design claims, as evidenced by previous patents. The design, on the other hand, has some merit.
They may never see the light of day, especially given how poorly modular phones have sold despite being popular concepts.