Some of you might remember that, several months ago, a certain project called “Phoneblocks” surfaced on the web, causing some pretty interesting reactions from gadget enthusiasts. Then, everything went quiet and nobody talked about modular smartphones for a while. That was, until Motorola got involved and announced that it’s working on the “Project Ara”.
For those of you who are not familiar with Phoneblocks or Ara, these projects revolve around the idea that a smartphone can be fully customizable, in the true sense of the word. Pretty much every component of this handset would be easily removable (think LEGO), and users would have the possibility of fitting different components on the “mainboard” module. For instance, in theory, you could remove the default screen module and replace it with a smaller one, and include a QWERTY keyboard module as well, a la Blackberry.
Anyway, getting back to the matter at hand, the interesting news today is that Xiaomi might actually work on a similar project as well. Yup, the same “Xiaomi” where Hugo Barra works right now, after leaving Google (which own Motorola…). Check back after the break for more details.
Xiaomi Working on a Project Ara Competitor Dubbed the “Magic Cube”?
The images you see above depict Xiaomi’s vision surrounding a modular smartphone. These photos have been initially shared through Lei Jun’s profile (Xiaomi’s founder and CEO) but they have been removed in the meantime.
The point, however, is that Xiaomi seems to plan on working on a similar project as Motorola. But, based on these images, it seems that the “Magic Cube” might not offer the same degree of customization as the Ara project, as it appears that the screen can’t be removed without ditching the mainboard.
In any case, this is an early draft by the looks of it, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
Are modular smartphones the future? Feel free to share your thoughts below.