We were once captivated by the concept of Project Ara, and after seeing these Xiaomi concepts it seems that all is not lost.
Samsung said a while ago that innovation is not negotiated, least of all in an industry as voracious as that of smartphones, in which Xiaomi already fights like a giant looking to differentiate itself among the most premium mobiles, in this course with a secondary screen on its Mi 11 Ultra to accompany the new Mi MIX Fold with its foldable AMOLED.
In any case, the surprises of the Xiaomi R&D team do not end here, and as the Let’sGoDigital colleagues told us, it seems that in Haidian they study the possibilities of modular mobiles following that impressive idea that was Project Ara, and that both LG with its G5 & Friends or Motorola with its Mods explored without success a few years ago.
There is not much information about this development of Xiaomi, beyond a patent discovered a few days ago and that was accepted by the USPTO on April 29, referring to an electronic device consisting of three parts that can be separated. Obviously, for now there are not even prototypes or real images.
In fact, the ones illustrated in this article have been masterfully recreated by two classics, Let’sGoDigital and Concept Creator, so that we can admire the idea a little more closely from the manufacturer led by Lei Jun, which, as you will see, does not seem so easy to put into practice.
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This would be Project Ara according to Xiaomi, what would the modular mobile phone of the Chinese giant offer us?
The truth is that an image is worth a thousand words, so the screenshots that you can see below will allow you to complete the mental photo of a smartphone made in three parts, the upper one with the photographic system together with the motherboard and chipset, the central part mounting the battery and the third module both the speaker and the USB port and the connectivity elements.
Two of these modules would also include the screen, but here the complications begin, since these parts would come together forming a single panel with an invisible joint That seems very difficult to carry out. Or not?
The patent itself mentions some modules with different types of cameras , so it seems like Xiaomi has mixed Ara’s modular snap systems a bit with Hasselblad’s Moto Mods and that concept of easy specification expansion as needed of each client.
In the images you can see without too much detail of operation that sliding system that fits the pieces, and that it would be in charge of completing a smartphone that would allow updating or expanding the hardware by buying only the necessary module, saving manufacturing, component and repair costs facilitating access to these modules.
The idea is good, a priori, although it certainly remains to be explored because the market has shown that no one wants to carry more extra gadgets in their pockets, neither Moto Mods, nor LG Friends nor even an S-Pen that with the Galaxy S21 arrives separately with a fairly relative success compared to the Galaxy Note that integrate it into the body. It does make sense for those yearly iterationsIt is always clear that the screen maintains quality and it is not necessary to change the modular mobile platform.
What does seem clear, at least, is that Xiaomi does not want to continue with that Chinese brand sanmbenito positioning itself at the forefront of the industry, both for patents and ideas and for novel implementations in commercial cutting devices, exploring now modular mobiles that have always promised a lot but they still have to explain a few things to us to justify their existence.
And you, do you prefer folding or modular? If someone asked you what the future of the mobile market is… What would you say?
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Related topics: Phones, Technology, Xiaomi