It is also not the first time that a modular device of this nature is being attempted.

Facebook working on a modular smartphone Patent reveals
Atom Technology Monday, July 24, 2017 - 14:31

Is Facebook getting out of its social media closet and joining the consumer electronics madhouse. Well, a strong indication of this has come this week with the company’s research unit, Building 8, obtaining a patent for what is euphemistically termed as a ‘modular electro-mechanical device’.

The only conclusion from the definition is that the patent holder proposes to make a modular device which can add and remove modules, each with a different functionality and scope. In other terms, it could also mean a smartphone and the modules will include a microphone, speaker, GPS, display and so on.

The expectation is that the device could be built through the 3D printing technology and it is not even clear as of now if it would end up as a smartphone or a home speaker a la Amazon Echo. Whatever maybe the ultimate objective of Facebook in applying for and obtaining this patent, excitement is definitely building up since the social media site has over a billion subscribers from all over the world and any activity or product it launches is bound to create ripples in the respective segments.

It is also not the first time that a modular device of this nature is being attempted. Google’s Project Ara was aimed at such a device only, but it failed. It is believed that bulk of the personnel working on Project Ara have actually shifted to Facebook’s Building 8 team, though this is not confirmed. The Moto Mods that work with the Moto range of phones from Lenovo can also be compared to the modular concept of devices. Analysts do see some similarities between the work done under Project Ara of Google and the current revelations from Building 8.

Facebook has been considering different revenue options for a very long time and an attempt was made earlier too to launch mobile phones in collaboration with HTC. Two phone HTC Cha Cha and HTC Salsa were the phones which came with Facebook pre-loaded in them and were in the mid-segment. However, the efforts did not yield any impactful results. This was as early as in 2011.

Experts will be keen to know how Facebook goes about making its plans materialize and if indeed the “modular electro-mechanical” device turns out to be a smartphone.  

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