Facebook modular device patent diagram

Screengrab via U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Public Domain)

Facebook patent spells rumors for a future ‘modular device’

Speakers and touchpads and thermometers, oh my!


Samantha Grasso


Posted on Jul 22, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 11:04 pm CDT

Facebook junkies, beware: The company could very well be working on producing their own modular phone, according to a patent for a “modular electromechanical device” filed Thursday.

The patent reveals the device would consist of a chassis, or a base, and a “plurality of functional modules that can be connected,” including a speaker, microphone, touchpad, GPS, display screen, and thermometer.

From a consumer standpoint, Facebook argues in the patent that modular devices are less wasteful, writing that smartphone users frequently purchase the “latest” technology just to have their phones deemed “outdated” shortly thereafter. However, with swappable, modular devices, users could update one of part of the device without having to scrap the rest.

“The consumer electronics are then thrown away and replaced with the latest version of the electronics and the life cycle of the electronics repeats,” the patent reads. “Typically, the hardware components included in the consumer electronics that are considered ‘outdated’ are still usable. 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.”

According to Mashable, the project comes from Facebook’s Building 8 division, a secretive consumer hardware group. Additionally, Facebook has been subject to smartphone rumors for years prior. However, as the publication points out, companies file patents all the time for projects that end up stalling—the patent is no sure promise that Facebook plans on rolling out modular phones any time soon.

But if it is—oh, the possibilities.

H/T Mashable

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*First Published: Jul 22, 2017, 4:12 pm CDT