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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Phones

Microsoft patents phone with swappable parts

Microsoft's filed a patent for a Transformer-esque smart phone, with swappable accessories like game pads and extra batteries.

Tech juggernaut Microsoft has filed a patent for a crazy mobile phone with swappable accessories, that could include a game controller, a spare battery or a physical keyboard, Unwired View reports.

If you take a squizz at the picture above, you can see what Microsoft has planned -- it's a Windows Phone with a sliding tray-like compartment, just like a Qwerty pull-out mobile such as the HTC Desire Z.

Where the Desire Z houses a full keyboard, however, you could stick anything you wanted in Microsoft's detachable second compartment. "The second devices are releasably attachable to the first device and are interchangable with each other," the filing reads.

The diagram shows a gamepad for hammering away at the likes of Infinity Blade, a spare battery to bless your blower with an extra gallon of juice, or even a second display -- all of which slot delightfully into the primary phone module.

The best bit is those extra parts are supposed to operate while detached, communicating with the phone wirelessly. So you could use the controller to play a game while the proper phone section streamed the game's video and sound to your living-room TV over HDMI.

But would anyone be willing to lug around all those different bits? We suspect not. On the other hand, people seem willing to bulk out their phones using those big cases that contain an extra battery, so maybe this will find a market.

Gadget fans with good memories will remember Modu, the Israeli company that already tried something like this, with a tiny phone that slipped into different jackets. Modu went bust though, and Google bought its patent portfolio. So we could see modular Android mobiles appearing one day -- swiftly followed by a massive lawsuit from Microsoft.

This is all very much hypothetical, but you never know, we could look back on this day as the moment we glimpsed the future of phones. Maybe.

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Image credit: Unwired View