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Christmas Gift Guide

ZTE's Eco-Mobius modular phone

Switchable hardware parts

More than one camera lens

Upgrade what you want

Change just the insides

Everyone's interested in modular

Not-so-future tech?

LAS VEGAS -- 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.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by 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.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET
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