MHL and USB3 are two technologies I would very much like in a 2016 smartphone, both of which are lacking from the Fairphone 2. Fair enough, can’t have it all. But modularity is supposed to make the phone somewhat future-proof, so… what are the chances of adding either or both of these to the USB module?
With MHL, what I know comes from my very disappointing Meizu MX4 Ubuntu edition. The core chipset supports MHL, which led to me finding some misleading spec sheets before buying. But you also need a “bridge chip” between the core and the connector, and that is usually not included for cost reasons. So the question is, is the USB module just a straight-through connector to the USB pins on the core module, or are there enough additional connectors to add an MHL bridge chip? MHL is a gimmick to most people, but for Ubuntu Touch it’s a core selling point, allowing you to use your phone as a desktop computer. (Or it will be, once they actually getting around to implementing that…)
Normally USB 3 would need to be implemented in the core module. But I wonder if a clever enough piece of silicon could act like an internal hub, providing many of the cool features of USB 3, just not any of the speed gains.
Here’s a nice picture of the part. Can’t see a lot of silicon there. Looks straight-through to me.