ZTE thinks you’ll want to build a smartphone from modular blocks

Among the many new products at CES, there are also concept ideas and designs. One, from ZTE, would allow consumers to build their own smartphone of sorts: Modules with different functions that fit together for a completely customized smartphone.

ZTE Modular phone complete

The pieces for ZTE’s concept all join together like blocks or puzzle pieces and are housed in a shell that includes an LCD display. Theoretically, you could swap out the shell for a higher resolution screen, add higher capacity batteries or improve your photos with a better camera sensor.

ZTE phone modules

Motorola(s goog) recently announced a similar initiative called Project Ara, so this idea isn’t new.

But as far-fetched the concept sounds, with the growing interest in custom 3D printing, Arduino and hardware hacks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some wanting to actually “build” their own smartphone. A few years ago, this type of product would be much more difficult to create. It’s still no easy task, but custom hardware is becoming more feasible as chipmakers embrace the current hacker and tinkerer community.