Thanks to concepts such as Phonebloks and Motorola's Project Ara, the idea of modular smartphones is starting to become more than a work of fiction. Another company has also stepped up to the plate with its own take on a modular smartphone.
ZTE Corporation isn't exactly a family name. The Chinese telecommunications company makes and sells a few budget (really budget) smartphones and Mi-Fis in the U.S., but its devices are hardly ever ahead of the curve in terms of design. You definitely wouldn't ever associate the company with premium products.
But where ZTE's real products fall short, its new Eco-Mobius modular smartphone concept design excels. The concept device even won a red dot design award this year. That has to count for something, right?
At its heart, the Eco-Mobius has four main modules: display, core, camera and battery. Unlike Phonebloks, which uses snap-on modules, the Eco-Mobius' modules slide into place via tracks. Components within each module, such as the CPU, GPU and RAM can then be attached magnetically. ZTE also gets bonus points for how the modules are exposed on the back; it feels so futuristic.
Everything is designed to be replaceable and swappable to reduce waste. Want a bigger screen for movies or gaming? Sure, why not. Just get a bigger display module in either 4.9-inch, 5.8-inch or 7.9-inch (holy cow!). Need more battery power? Simply stack a batteries on top of one another; no battery pack or case required. Need a processor boost? Go ahead and swap out the CPU for a beefier one. The idea is that you'll only have to replace the certain parts as your usage changes.
ZTE, if you're listening: bring this device to market. We want one badly. More shots of the concept phone in the gallery below.