Smartphone cameras are once again growing to an almost ridiculous pace once again and they are also growing in size. While there is indeed a huge market for smartphones with excellent cameras, not everyone might be so interested in those, especially if they’re paying for expensive branding in the process. Consumers don’t really have much of a choice in what cameras they get because of how phones are made but Xiaomi is once again looking into modular phones to potentially offer more options, presuming these actually become reality.
The modular phone idea is hardly new and a few companies have attempted to make those ideas into reality. The closest we got was the failed LG G5’s attempt at some modular parts but the Fairphone is also pushing modularity for the sake of sustainability. It seems that Xiaomi also has other modular ideas, ones that revolve around smartphone cameras instead.
According to the patent spotted by LetsGoDigital, Xiaomi thought of a system where only specific parts of a phone can be removed. While the base components of the phone, including the battery, screen, and logic boards, remain intact, the camera modules and bottom ports can be swapped out. It might be a bit difficult to visualize what Xiaomi means but, fortunately, LetsGoDigital shares some renders of what that modular phone might look like.
Based on Xiaomi’s own patent filing, the modular phone can switch between a module with a square camera bump and one with cameras in a single column. The renders, however also envision a module with a second screen on the back, perfect for using the cameras for selfies.
The patent also shows the bottom part of the phone sliding out though it doesn’t show what can be done with it. That edge of the phone could also be a bit problematic because of how the speakers and charging ports are there. Of course, these are just patents and may not even become real products, especially given how modular phones haven’t sold well despite being popular ideas.