ZTE's modular phone concept lets you swap out phone hardware

With the Eco-Mobius concept handset, people would be able to upgrade and switch individual pieces of their smartphones.

Lynn La Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Lynn La
2 min read
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Watch this: ZTE gives CES its first look at the Eco-Mobius modular phone

LAS VEGAS -- The idea of customizing your handset beyond just its looks has been often toyed with, but rarely realized. At CES this year, ZTE displayed its concept Eco-Mobius modular phone at its booth, which maps out how someone could customize and change his or her smartphone, hardware piece by hardware piece.

Developed by the company's R&D department in China, the Eco-Mobius would make it possible to switch out and upgrade individual hardware components. For instance, say you are going to a wedding and would like to shoot sharper, higher-resolution photos. You could then replace your standard 8-megapixel phone camera lens with a 13-megapixel one.

ZTE gives a peek into the future with Eco-Mobius (pictures)

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Another example would be a chip manufacturer like Nvidia or Qualcomm releasing a faster handset processor. If you want to keep your device, you can upgrade just its CPU with the latest version.

The only part of your smartphone you would keep consistent, according to ZTE, would be its general body frame and the display.

This isn't the first time we've seen modular concept handsets like this. Last September, Dutch designer Dave Hakkens took the wraps off his Phonebloks and Motorola unveiled Project Ara.

ZTE Eco-Mobius modular phone
The Eco-Mobius let's you swap out and upgrade your phone's hardware pieces individually. Lynn La/CNET

It's interesting to see ZTE throwing its hat into the ring of modular handsets, and as more development grows out of this area, this future tech idea may not be so distant after all. What do you think of a smartphone like this; would you be interested in purchasing a handset with switchable components?

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