Even though we don't usually look to Microsoft for hardware innovations (especially in the mobile space), they do have great ideas every once in a while. Today is one of those days, because Microsoft has just patented a modular smartphone that if executed right could be pretty cool.
The concept works like this: You have a slideout smartphone, but instead of a keyboard you have an empty bay with certain connectors. You also have various different "accessories" that you can plug into those connectors, like a traditional keyboard, a Xperia Play-esque gamepad, an extended battery pack, or even a touchscreen media remote.
While a device like this would not be winning any thinness titles, it would be very adaptive to different use cases. One of the downfalls of dedicated devices like the Xperia Play is that the gamepad serves no purpose when you are not playing a game. Of course, with a device like this you could re-purpose the extra space into something that would be useful all the time.
The design does have its quirks though, as carrying around the various modules seems problematic and prone to loss. Still, overall this seems like a good idea, and I hope Microsoft will pursue this concept all the way to production.[Engadget]