According to reports, Facebook is exploring a device which includes interchangeable parts which could be used as a type of smartphone or speaker.
The patent modules include a speaker, a microphone, a GPS and a touchscreen for a device which is planned to function as a speaker, a phone or GPS tracking device.
Many smartphones have very few replaceable components. However, modular technology has the ability to allow users to update the phone in parts instead of upgrading their whole device. The patent said: “From a consumer prospective, the life cycle of conventional consumer electronics is expensive and wasteful,”
The patent which was filed last year shows a main chassis and a series of modules that would be made using 3D printing. The device would ultimately change its function by downloading brand new software. Though, this depends on the modules it is using.
The design sticks to Google’s modular smartphone Project Ara. Such project was delayed and abandoned last year. Numerous previous members of Google’s Project Ara are now under employment by Facebook.
According to reports, Facebook files thousands of patents every year, however many do not result in brand new projects. This would not be Facebook’s first smartphone project though.
In 2013, the company worked alongside HTC in order to launch the HTC First, which developed Facebook Home, an app which targeted to make social networking a hub of the phone’s operating system and homescreen. However, the app did not get received very well and as a result is no longer available to download.
The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has said that it isn’t the right move for the company to make a smartphone. “If we did build a phone, we’d only reach one or two per cent of our users. That doesn’t do anything awesome for us,” Zuckerberg said on the launch of Facebook Home.
Plus, Apple has also been looking into a modular device. The device is set to combine both the iPhone and Macbook body, which slots the phone into the keyboard of the laptop.