Motorola isn’t the only company working on designs for a modular smartphone that could be easy to upgrade by simply popping out a camera, memory, or even CPU module and throwing in a new one.
ZTE is showing off a concept it calls Eco-Mobius which could let you upgrade a smartphone or tablet without replacing the whole device.
Right now the Eco-Mobius is basically a big idea made up of little packages. ZTE isn’t ready to show a working model, and even the the non-working demo unit on display at CES is locked tight in a glass case.
But the model does show how the system would work. There’s a frame that houses all display and all the other modular bits including the CPU, GPU, memory, camera, and storage. You’d be able to upgrade any individual component simply by opening up the case and replacing your existing modules.
There are also two battery modules in the demo unit. As your battery starts to show its age, you could replace it with a new battery.
ZTE hasn’t committed to releasing an actual product based on the Eco-Mobius design, but it’s clearly something the company is at least thinking about. It’d allow users to hold onto their phones longer, reduce waste by allowing you to update just the components that you need or want to replace, and could be an interesting source of revenue for ZTE as it provides a regular stream of module updates instead of (or in addition to) completely new phones.