Facebook could be working on a modular smartphone
Back in 2016, Google cancelled their modular smartphone codenamed Project Ara, as the company decided to streamline their hardware business and concentrate on more advanced projects. According to Business Insider, it seems that Facebook may have picked up the plans for Project Ara and could be looking into creating a modular smartphone and the entire ecosystem that could support it. Facebook’s Building 8 group filed yesterday a patent application for what looks like a modular device that can incorporate phone, GPS, touchscreen and several other components.
Business Insider points out that an important part of the team that worked on Goggle’s Project Ara is now working for Building 8. Also of note here is the fact that Facebook owns Oculus, so the modular device could incorporate a next-gen VR system as well. However, the patent mentions that the modular device could work as an Amazon Alex-like music speaker, while “millions of devices" connected to a server could be loaded with different software based on components that are swapped out. Business Insider also dug around on LinkedIn and found out that Bernard Richardson, Building 8’s head of new product integration, previously worked for Amazon on the Alexa speaker.
As with previous projects and patents filed over the years, this latest patent might not be transformed into a commercial product, and it’s quite unclear how this device would fit into Facebook’s business model, so take this information with a grain of salt.