The chameleonic nature of smartphones is a big reason why we love them so much. They shapeshift to fit our needs. But the most recent patents from Microsoft take that idea one step further, introducing modular hardware components to mobile devices.
The idea here is smart: the area of a slider smartphone where the keyboard usually sits is a docking station for whatever control mechanism you want to pop in there. Maybe it's a keyboard. Maybe it's a game pad. It could be a second screen, or a remote control for when your device is connected to a TV. You could even just pop in an extra battery. Whether or not this makes it into the real world remains to be seen (the equally innovative Courier didn't make it past the concept stage, after all), but it's an idea I'm not opposed to. [Patent via Unwired View via BGR]