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ZTE Eco-Mobius modular mobile rivals Moto's Project Ara

Chinese phone firm ZTE is getting in the modular mobile action with this, the Eco-Mobius.

Modular mobiles could be the next big thing. Motorola has unveiled its Project Ara, and Phonebloks is a Dutch attempt at making a mobile with swappable parts. Now Chinese phone firm ZTE is getting in the action with this, the Eco-Mobius.

Like Project Ara and Phonebloks, the idea is you buy a basic phone, and can then swap in different parts. So instead of upgrading to a new handset, you can just buy the bits that you want, like a processor, new camera etc. This would also let you tailor it to your needs. So if you don't use the camera, you could swap it for a bigger battery, say, and make your phone last for days on end.

Eco-Mobius was on show at CES in Las Vegas. It looks a little sleeker than Project Ara, though like Motorola's effort, it is just a concept at the moment. ZTE says we could see the project become a reality within the next two years.

Eco-Mobius is divided into four swappable modules: LCD, core (processor, RAM and ROM), camera, and battery. The possibilities are huge. If you're a keen photographer, you could take separate lenses with you, effectively turning your phone into a digital SLR.

ZTE says it's putting together a platform in which us punters can buy, sell and trade modules. There's no word on whether ZTE would make all the modules itself, or if they would be manufactured by third parties, or even any old Tom Dick and Harry at home with a 3D printer. But it'll be exciting to see how it pans out.

Here's CNET's Lynn La getting up close and personal with Eco-Mobius.

Are modular mobiles the future? Or will people always prefer a device they don't have to tinker with? Let me know in the comments, or insert a new module into our Facebook page.