A few years ago it looked like modular smartphones might become a thing. But with Project Ara dead, and LG’s brief flirtation with modularity abandoned, the only major phone maker still offering any sort of modular design is Motorola, which released its fourth-gen Moto Z with support for modular add-ons last year.
But it looks like Chinese phone maker Xiaomi is at least contemplating releasing a phone with an unusual sort of modular design — the company applied for a patent for a phone with a removable display.
I don’t often write stories about patent applications, because companies often apply for patents for products that they never actually build. But this one was weird enough to catch my eye.
It’s totally unclear from the patent application why this phone would have a removable display — although it’s possible details will become more clear at some point in the future when the confidential portions of the patent application are unsealed.
For now my best guess is that the phone would be easier to repair and/or that users would be able to swap out screens to add different functions. But again, it’s likely that Xiaomi has no real plans to release a phone with this design.
One other interesting thing about this patent is that it shoes front-facing cameras that would be behind the screen, so the display would likely either need to have a cut-out that aligns with those cameras, or a semi-transparent section that would allow the cameras to snap pictures through the display.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- Xiaomi smartphone with a removable display? [LetsGoDigital]
Xiaomi applies for a patent on a smartphone with a removable display. But it’s not clear if the company plans to ever actually release a phone using this design.
- Nokia C3 Budget Smartphone with 5.99-inch HD+ Screen [MySmartPrice]
The Nokia C3 is a $100 smartphone with a 6 inch, 1440 x 720px display, an 8-core Unisoc SC9683A processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of eMMC 5.1 storage. It has a 3,040 mAh battery, but tops out at 802.11n WiFi. Up for pre-order in China now.
- Expanding the Designed for Xbox Ecosystem to Mobile Gaming [Xbox]
Razer Kishi, PowerA MOGA XP5-X Plus, and 8BitDo SN30 Pro are some of the first smartphone game controller accessories Designed for Xbox game streaming.
- 27-inch iMac gets a major update [Apple]
Apple updates its iMac lineup: The 27 inch model is getting 10th-gen Intel “Comet Lake” chips, Radeon Pro 5000 graphics, and TrueTone displays. The 21.5 inch version gets SSD storage. And the iMac Pro now comes standard with a 10-core Xeon CPU. Apple plans to launch its first ARM-based Macs this year, but the first models are expected to be laptops, not high-performance desktop computers.