Although the prospect of owning modular mobiles with individually upgradable components has only been partially realised for a tiny niche of the market, the mainstream arrival of a more sustainable practical device for long-term ownership could eventually be introduced by Google.
This is according to patents dug out this week which show the tech giant is still keen to protect concepts related to modular mobile design, albeit on a less ambitious scale than was seen with its earlier efforts under the Project Ara scheme.
The diagrams associated with the patents appear to show separate handset components being connected together to create a kind of hybrid device that is more potent than the sum of its parts.
Ultimately, it may be possible to change the camera, processor and housing of a smartphone so that it is simpler to repair any problems, upgrade when the time comes and deal with common issues like faulty batteries.
Google’s own Pixel range could eventually feature this kind of functionality, although for the time being it is unlikely that any of its efforts in the near future will follow this route, given that patents are not always indications of an intention to put an idea into active development.