Facebook may be making a smartphone.
According to a patent application, the company is looking at a “modular electromechanical device” that can incorporate a touch display, speaker, microphone, GPS and even function as a phone. With a modular design, users are able to swap out different components to customize their device.
Google previously had a go at making a modular phone with its Project Ara device, although the company later canned the project. Interestingly, many key members of the Project Ara development team now work at Facebook’s Building 8, the group that filed this modular device patent.
Little else is known about the reported device, although “people familiar with the matter” have told Business Insider that Building 8 is heavily focused on developing “cutting-edge camera and machine learning technology.” That would seemingly align with Facebook’s overarching business plans, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying earlier this year that the company aims to make the camera the first augmented reality platform.
However, while specifications are currently unknown, it seems like Facebook’s goal with the modular device is to develop technology that is more efficient from a use and cost perspective.
“Typically, the hardware components included in the consumer electronics that are considered ‘outdated’ are still useable,” reads the patent, which was originally filed in January 2016. “However, the hardware components can no longer be re-used since consumer electronics are designed as closed systems. From a consumer prospective, the life cycle of conventional consumer electronics is expensive and wasteful.”
Via: Business Insider