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  • Modular smartphones now a two-horse race? Xiaomi may also be working on a Phonebloks-like project

Modular smartphones now a two-horse race? Xiaomi may also be working on a Phonebloks-like project

Posted: , by Chris P.

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Modular smartphones now a two-horse race? Xiaomi may also be working on a Phonebloks-like project
There are very few things currently going on in the wireless industry that offer as great a value proposition as the one brought up by Motorola's Project Ara and the modular smartphones it aims to make available to the wider world. Of course, if we take a chronological approach to the events leading up to Project Ara, we'd pretty much have to mention Phonebloks – a YouTube video about LEGO-like customizable smartphones that went viral almost immediately, setting the stage for the new movement.

Ambitious Beijing-based Xiaomi appears to have caught a whiff of the new trend all the way in the Middle Kingdom, and may be moving in with their own project, called Magic Cube, or so would a duo of modular smartphone renders lead us to believe. More importantly, these were actually posted on the official Weibo (Chinese Twitter equivalent) profile of Xiaomi's founder and CEO – Lei Jun, but were quickly taken down soon after. As far as we can tell from the snaps, the underlying idea appears to be identical to that of Motorola and the folks behind Phonebloks. That being said, one could argue that Xiaomi's renders show a more limited choice of modular components, though it's more than likely awfully early to be making such calls.

Modular smartphones now a two-horse race? Xiaomi may also be working on a Phonebloks-like project
Modular smartphones now a two-horse race? Xiaomi may also be working on a Phonebloks-like project

In case you're unfamiliar with what modular smartphones are all about, then you should definitely make sure to take a moment and have a look right below.

More on modular smartphones:


source: C Tech via G4Games

11 Comments
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posted on 09 Dec 2013, 05:06 6

1. D.Aceveda (Posts: 396; Member since: 30 Jun 2012)


Good. More competition!

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 05:40 3

4. TechBizJP08 (Posts: 495; Member since: 25 Mar 2013)


The bad thing about blocks. Once they fall, it will scatter to pieces.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 05:51 3

6. Kuroki (Posts: 88; Member since: 24 Nov 2013)


much worse if you stepped on it . . .

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 07:13 1

8. indianapple89 (Posts: 47; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)


I'm sure that it'll have some kind of support/ casing. You would expect a company like Moto/Google to think of such pitfalls before announcing it publicly.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 07:19 2

9. dratomic (Posts: 483; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)


i think a silicon case can hold them together. think of possibilities. but theres one thing that bugs me and its how the os would run on new hardware w/o optimization...

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 05:19 1

2. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Good move Xiaomi. I think one day all OEMs would jump into this Phonebloks race, that day would be amazing.

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 05:31 1

3. marbovo (Posts: 658; Member since: 16 May 2013)


Very good idea, but I don´t think most of oems will support it(it´s more profitable to sell a whole product than share the parts with competitors )

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 06:22

7. Arman (Posts: 47; Member since: 08 Jul 2013)


its not that simple like PC.. in PC era yep you can have more profit if you sell PC as a complete product.. but.. there is a big but! (:P)

for smartphones is completely different.. modules are extremely cheap for OEMs.. like a S800 Soc is around 20-30 USD .. or a camera sensor is about 10-20 USD..

imagine you have a cellphone from Motorola, and sony release a 20megapixel OIS module for 69 USD a piece.. and the next motorola flagship has the same exact sensor.. you have 2 choice , spend 600 worth of money to get what you want + improvement in other parts.. or spend only 69 dollars to get exactly what you want .. in second option SONY or Part supplier make more profit .. so component makers are happy to support a well designed and well marketed modular platform.

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 06:24

10. marbovo (Posts: 658; Member since: 16 May 2013)


But you spending 69 instead of 600 is what I think the OEMs do not want, if we spend less, then they profit less, it´s simple.

But if a major player(moto) give the first kick and people start buying... then maybe we will get something, and I hope that happens

posted on 09 Dec 2013, 05:43 3

5. KillerKeyboard (Posts: 344; Member since: 21 Nov 2013)


The only trend I see here is companies posting unreleased stuff then removing them immediately.

Oh, and a second... Tech sites posting about them.

posted on 10 Dec 2013, 06:34

11. marbovo (Posts: 658; Member since: 16 May 2013)


Lol, It's not always like that, sometimes tech sites posts about concept devices made by unknow people like it was for real too... lol

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