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Microsoft Patents Modular Smartphone with Controller

Engadget reports that Microsoft has patented a modular Windows Phone that features a swappable gamepad with four buttons and an analog stick, an extra battery, a full-blown QWERTY keyboard and a secondary touchscreen for scrolling through assigned apps. These will supposedly snap into the phone's slide-out bay but may also work outside the chassis via a Bluetooth connection.

Called Mobile Communication Device Having Multiple, Interchangeable Second Devices, the patent was filed on March 17, 2010 and is described as follows:

A mobile communication device comprises a first device with a first display and multiple second devices. The second devices are releasably attachable to the first device and are interchangeable with each other. The mobile device can operate as a mobile cell phone with one or more second devices operable as a mobile phone hand set. The second devices can comprise one or more game controllers, batteries, physical keyboards and/or mobile phone handsets with a display. In a detached configuration, the first device is separated from the second devices and can wirelessly communicate with one or more of the detached second devices. In a three device configuration, the first device can send commands, control signals or content to one or more external devices in addition to the second devices.

The design is interesting to say the least, but we question about pricing and the device's overall weight. Will all the components come packed with the smartphone, or will just one (like the keyboard) be included in the package and the others available as separate purchases? Is Microsoft looking to take on Sony Ericsson's Xperia PLAY?

If anything, the patent leads to a lot of speculation.

  • klavis
    It's and interesting concept, I'm actually a bit surprised it hadn't been thought up before hand and produced.
    Reply
  • Camikazi
    O look a patent for something unique... what a novel idea!
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    I actually would like a gamepad that is removable, the idea of having one to play games would be great, but when you aren't playimg you have this hulking great stupid gamepad next to your ear.

    Why has no-one thought of this before?
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    may also work outside the chassis via a Bluetooth connection.
    The second devices can comprise one or more game controllers, batteries
    If you can get a battery that works via Bluetooth I will give you the money myself
    Reply
  • ElectroGoofy
    I really like this idea actually... use the game controller or qwerty keyboard during normal use, then swap out for the additional battery in case of emergency or extended durations of time without a charging source. Or for long road trips just keep in the additional battery and use the keyboard/controller wirelessly via bluetooth if that is a feature (of course if I am not driving ;)):)

    back_by_demandI actually would like a gamepad that is removable, the idea of having one to play games would be great, but when you aren't playimg you have this hulking great stupid gamepad next to your ear.
    Well, actually, it fits into a slide-out bay, as mentioned in the article. But yea, I really like the idea :D
    Reply
  • Lewis57
    With this idea you would have to carry mutliple parts for your phone, wouldn't it be better to have a slide out screen that displays touch pad buttons or keypad buttons etc.
    Reply
  • Camikazi
    Lewis57With this idea you would have to carry mutliple parts for your phone, wouldn't it be better to have a slide out screen that displays touch pad buttons or keypad buttons etc.Don't have to carry, can pick and choose what to take depending on where you are going and how long you will be gone. A little thinking ahead is not a bad thing and if you don't feel like doing that then just take a bag and take them all, not like they will be huge anyway. I like this idea, would love to have one of these phones, specially the extra battery idea for those long trips away from an outlet to charge.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    who would really buy something with swap-able parts? The reason manufacturers have gotten away from this sort of design model is because people will loose/damage parts, plus it opens up an obvious market for 3rd party devices, which means that the designers loose control of the product (which they hate). I doubt we will see this come to life, or if it does it will be marketed about as well as the Zune.

    I do like the idea of Bluetooth connectable devices for a game pad, just don't make it modular. Modular is great for some things, just not mobile electronics.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    I call BS on it. Patenting concepts should NOT be allowed. Only actuals products and software. Modular smarphone is a concept. What, just because MS first patented a very obvious thing means everyone gets to pay them? F#$@ that system.
    Reply
  • jacobdrj
    Wow... I had no idea you could patent an idea like this! I had dreamed of a laptop with a modular controller for a long time...

    I need to become a patent lawyer...
    Reply