What if you could maintain the exact same outward appearance for your phone while completely upgrading its internals? Rogue designer Antoine Brieux is exploring precisely this idea with his HTC Tube smartphone concept.
The phone itself is split into an outside shell and an inside “cartridge.” The real guts of the phone are found in the cartridge, which would effectively upgrade the processor, storage capacity, camera, and other necessary bits. The magnesium alloy shell then provides a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED display, HDMI port, and so on.
Brieux is envisioning three different cartridge levels. The Starter Edition gets an 800MHz Snapdragon CPU, Android 2.2 with HTC Sense, 8GB Flash, and a 3.2MP cam. The Smart Edition gets bumped to a 1GHz CPU, Windows Phone 7, 16GB Flash memory, and a 5.0MP cam with 720p video.
The granddaddy of them all, though, is the Ultimate Edition cartridge. It gets a 1.5GHz dual core Snapdragon with 64GB Flash, 12MP cam, 1080p video, and a dual boot Android 2.2 + Windows Phone 7 operating environment. Yeah, dual boot. I’m sure that’ll fly with HTC, Google, and Microsoft.
While the whole cartridge mechanism for the HTC Tube is certainly different, I very much doubt that we’ll be seeing anything commercially available with this kind of form factor any time soon.