Modular smartphones are not new to the tech world. It has been nearly two years when we first heard a major tech company launching a modular smartphone. Since then several top smartphone makers joined the bandwagon by launching modular smartphones. However, the pace at which modular smartphones were launched was not as expected. Further, the announcement of the death of Project Ara by Google was termed as a deathblow to modular smartphones. And the scene seems to have shifted to foldable smartphones with Microsoft and Apple filing patents.
But there seems to be another tech giant secretly working on modular smartphone tech. Social media giant Facebook filed a patent application on Jan 17, 2017, under the name ‘Modular Electromechanical Device’ ( US patent application number 15/408,304) with four inventors all previously employed with Nascent Objects, a startup Facebook bought in 2016. Nascent Objects specialized in 3D printing that quickly proto-typed modular gadgets. This patent application filed in Jan 2017 claims priority to January 2016.
Facebook has a separate consumer hardware lab ‘Building 8‘ that works on futuristic technologies. Coincidentally, key members of Project Ara are now part of Building 8 the team responsible for the present patent application. Not much is known about Building 8. However, as reported by Business Insider the team is rumored to be working on building consumer gadgets.