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ZTE shows off its own Project Ara alternative, the Eco-Mobius modular concept

At CES 2014, ZTE is showcasing its own alternative to the Project Ara modular phone concept from Motorola. ZTE's competing project is called Eco-Mobius.
January 8, 2014

When we first heard about Phonebloks, we though it was a cool idea but mostly just a pipedream that had little chance of becoming a reality. Shortly after that, Motorola announced their own modular phone concept called Project Ara.

With Motorola in the game, we certainly have a bit more faith that modular phones can eventually become a reality. That said, it’s still not something that is exactly a “mainstream” idea, but that’s not stopping ZTE from joining in with their own Eco-Mobius modular concept. 

ZTE’s concept device certainly looks a bit more like a traditional handset than the Ara, and yet theoretically it would offer a similar level of customization. Right now ZTE is showing off the idea at CES 2014, though they make it clear that it is currently a research experiment and not necessarily destined for commercialization just yet.

The ZTE concept consists of four main modules: the core, display, battery and camera. As you probably already figured, the core includes the processor, RAM and other major components. The fact that the processor and RAM are all part of the core doesn’t mean they can’t be swapped out, however. Each of these components can be removed easily and replaced thanks to their special magnetic connectors.


The ZTE Eco-Mobius project might be very similar to Project Ara when it comes to the conceptual technology involved, but their process is certainly different. While Motorola is developing the platform openly and hopes to involve quite a few different companies and developers, ZTE is currently planning to design and create all the components themselves.

Like Motorola, ZTE also notes that modular phones aren’t just for those of us that love customization and the idea of upgrading our devices. The hope is that modular phones would be a green solution, as people can upgrade their phones bit by bit, instead of throwing them in the landfill. Then again, those old modular parts still have to go somewhere, right?

Modular phones are certainly cool concepts, but don’t expect to see Project Ara or Eco-Mobius hit store shelves anytime soon. A lot still of research and development still needs to be done before modular phones can become a reality. What do you think: like the idea of modular devices, or do you feel that they just aren’t practical?

*all photos used come from the article source, PcMag*