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Facebook Are Quietly Tinkering With Modular Phone Technology

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It's easy to forget sometimes that for all the Snapchat copycatting, rehashed ideas and general, well, Facebook-ness, the company is actually doing a lot of under the radar tech development. Building 8, their ominously named R&D department fronted by a former DARPA director, is the centre of all of this. What little news does find its way out of there is often enticing, and in this case it's that they've been doing some development work on modular mobile phone technology.

Modular phones have been on the horizon for a while now, talk of them had begun even before the first iPhone debuted, but we've yet to see an actual model, or even a convincing prototype. Given the success Google has had with mobile phones of late, it's a logical target for Facebook. All they've done so far is file for a patent for a "modular electromagnetic device" designed to eliminate the need to upgrade your hardware every 1-2 years, as is the current standard.

Of course, a patent filing doesn't necessarily suggest any kind of immediate progress, it could be that Facebook are just putting it on the backburner and keeping the competition at bay, but that's never been their style. It's also worth considering that Regina Dugan, director of Building 8, had previously headed up a modular technology project for Google called Project Ara (although it was ultimately abandoned).

Facebook have also hoovered up a number of other people with past experience on modular technology and put them to work in Building 8. All this points to the project, whatever it actually is, being a significant one, and if it comes to fruition it could really shake up the mobile technology market.

They aren't the only company working on it, but with Project Ara having been shelved, it seems like they're the ones focusing on it the most. The disadvantage Facebook have here is that they haven't entered the mobile race yet, so they have to play catch up with Apple and Google while they develop the concept further.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Facebook Are Quietly Tinkering With Modular Phone Technology Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 Rating: 5

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