News by Andrew Kameka on Monday December 09, 2013.
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Smartphone vendor Xiaomi, the fast-moving Chinese upstart that hired former Googler Hugo Barra to gain more popularity outside of Asia, is rumored to be flirting with the idea of releasing a smartphone capable of customizing specific parts of a phone to build the perfect device.
An image reportedly posted online by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun shows a phone called the Magic Cube that has slots for upgrading specific parts of a device. For instance, the camera occupies the top left corner of the device, but someone who wants a better camera can choose to insert a higher quality sensor into the same space. It also has spaces for the main board and battery with different colors to personalize the phone.
Details about the phone are limited but it does not appear to be as ambitious or upgradeable as what the Project Ara venture aspires to achieve. Motorola confirmed last month that its Project Ara will seek to manufacture smartphones that can swap out and upgrade specific parts of a phone - like screen, camera, or processor - without having to purchase a new phone. Xiaomi doesn't offer changing the screen and appears to have a more rigid layout, but it appears to be on a similar path.
Xiaomi modular smartphone concept
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.