ZTE Teases Eco-Mobius Modular Smartphone Concept

One of the tricky parts about CES is that while everything is eye candy, some things you see are exciting new products that you can buy immediately while others are merely half-baked, or simply an intriguing prototype, or (the big let-down)--a design concept.

That’s what ZTE did to everyone with its Eco-Mobius modular smartphone concept phone, which looks amazing but is still just a shell. However, the Eco-Mobius does point to the future of mobile devices, and although at another point in time this design idea might have warranted little more than a passing nod of interest (which is all it got earlier this year), because of what’s happening in the industry right now, it’s far more notable.

ZTE Eco-Mobius modular smartphone concept

Motorola is forging ahead with plans to actively develop a modular smartphone with its Project Ara, which we’ve talked about at length, and to see another major company explore the idea bodes well for the whole concept being a reality.

The Eco-Mobius is designed with four modules. The LCD contains the camera lens and display, and the “core” module has all the horsepower--the CPU, GPU, and RAM, as well as the storage, and each of those can be independently swapped in or out of the core module. (It’s sort of a meta-module idea.)

ZTE Eco-Mobius modular smartphone concept

The four modules can be slid on or off the phone when you want to upgrade a given part, and ZTE imagines a platform where you can easily locate and purchase new components.

The design is innovative, and the concept phone looks great. Eco-Mobius in not in active development, but ZTE may have engineers working on solving the problems that will allow such a phone to exist in its lineup someday. There’s hope in this quote from ZTE about the design concept:

Concept phones embody the designer’s creative spirit and expectations for the future. They point out the direction of a product’s evolution and shape the future.
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