The patent that was filed by Facebook came under the modular electromechanical device bracket, which is just another word for a communication device like a smartphone and consists of a speaker, microphone and GPS. While it was not explicitly mentioned to be a phone in itself and since these components can also be found in devices that are not phones, it might be too early to say right now whether Facebook is patenting a smartphone. What will pique the interest of doting techies, however, are the details of the patent itself.
Figures that were attached to the patent show a mechanism with a speaker built into it. Facebook’s explanation of the device in the patent mentioned that the device can be configured and modified to accommodate for multiple modules that can be connected to it. This is a strong indicator that much like the Moto Z smartphone by Lenovo, Facebook will probably be coming out with its own take on modular smartphones as well. Having said that, this may not be the same kind of modular phone that was seen with the Moto Z smartphone.
Instead of having multiple differently featured modules connected to it, rumors speculate that the application here could be to enhance the phone’s features as newer hardware parts arrive, without having to change the phone entirely, unlike what smartphones nowadays do where they upgrade the entire phone after a one-year gap. In retrospect, this could be the spiritual successor to the ill-fated Google Project Ara.
The patent was compiled and submitted by Facebook’s Building 8 team, who are known for their innovative approaches and are currently looking for a hardware direction to take the company. It is about time that Facebook did seriously take hardware as many other companies including Amazon have moved over from being simply software-specific to making their own hardware.
The Amazon Echo is a product that has been highly marketed by Amazon and while Facebook has dabbled in various tech-related endeavors before, none have been as successful or fruitful for the company to make them noticed. Hopefully, with development soon underway for a new smartphone by the company, there can be hope for some disruption in the current landscape of the smartphone industry.
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