Modular Android Phones in 4 Modules

If you’re reading this, chances are you already knew what modular phones are. Like the Phonebloks concept, the canceled Project Ara by Google and the very repairable Fairphone.

All the concepts have been leaning towards the idea of sustainability. But not everyone would buy that idea; it’s like someone trying to sell you healthy food. Could I eat the same healthy food every day? In the Singapore context, a bowl of salad is more expensive than a MacDonald’s meal. S$11~S$13 a bowl from SaladStop!, S$5~S$9 a meal from MacDonald’s, and not forgetting some sinful local food you can get under S$5. To sell sustainability, it needs to have various delicious, cheap, and appealing to the masses.

Maybe we need to try selling this modular phone idea from a different approach.

When I read this article about Oppo exploring phones with removable camera modules, it hits me. Why didn’t modular phones built in such a manner? Splitting the phone into lesser parts rather than breaking it down into smaller and complicated modules. This exploration will break them down into four modules, a core body, and three other sub-modules like the screen, the battery, and the camera.

The Core

The core body should have all the usual suspects — processor, RAM, internal storage, 5G, Wifi, NFC, Bluetooth, GPS, Fingerprint sensor on the power button, etc.

Core — Internal Battery

For this modular phone to work, a relatively small battery (about 250mAh) is required. The internal battery is unlike the removable battery module. It allows the phone to keep running as you swap the battery module out without switching it off.

Core—Expandable Storage

Using the micro SD card as expandable storage.

Screen Module

The screen module allows you to choose from a wide variety of selections, whether you need a front-facing camera, no camera, a high refresh rate for gaming, or a standard 60Hz screen. Maybe an excellent front-firing stereo speaker for watching videos. A secure way to unlock your phone with your face. Or an under-display fingerprint sensor screen.

Camera Module

Camera, camera, camera, or no camera at all. You could either have a bigger camera sensor or a dedicated telephoto camera. In times like 2020 Covid-19, you can put together a temperature-taking phone. Don’t want a camera? Have a module that tells the time.

Battery Module

The size of the removable battery module depends on each and everyone’s needs. Some needed a big battery to game all day; some wanted the wireless charging capability or having two of the same battery module, so you could have one on the phone while the other charging on the power bank. If not, how about wireless earbuds charging case as the phone battery module.

Software

The software plays a vital role when handling the screen and camera modules. Without excellent software, we can drop the idea entirely. I hope Google would take up Project Ara again, probably making it as a Pixel flagship phone.

Various combinations

For the Restrictive Area
Your Typical Flagship
For the “Productive”
I don’t know who is this for…

Endnote

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or send me a message on Twitter @theglimy . Everything wrote here is my individual opinion, not relating to any company whatsoever.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store