Action camera manufacturer GoPro has acquired a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a "housing" with the shape of a cube that would hold and allow users to access a camera with a similar shape.

However, GoPro currently does not make action cameras that are cube-shaped. Does this mean that GoPro is currently developing such a gadget?

The images from the filing to the USPTO, which was supposedly sent in by GoPro back in January, reveal a small camera being placed into the cube-shaped housing. The housing would hold the camera in place while allowing users access to all of the camera's buttons, in addition to making it possible to be attached to a mounting device in numerous orientations.

The housing features three identical openings on three of its sides to provide the accessibility to the device's ports no matter the orientation of the device.

GoPro told Re/code that the company's engineers started to work on a cube-shaped camera design four years ago in 2011. However, the company declined to reveal any announcement of new products.

"GoPro files patents like these to protect our technology and intellectual property," wrote a spokesperson for the company in an e-mail sent to Re/code.

The drawings of the patent filing, while for illustration purposes only, show a device that has a single button at its top and a small display beside it. The filing also reveals dimensions of 2 centimeters to 9 centimeters for each side, which do not determine a specific size.

One of the more significant characteristics of the drawings, however, is that the housing uses the proprietary three-pin connector of GoPro, which could mean it will be compatible with existing accessories that GoPro has released for its cameras.

If GoPro does proceed with making a super-compact cube-shaped device that would cost lower compared to its current line of action cameras, then the company may be able to expand its audience.

The current cheapest camera of the company, the GoPro Hero, sells for $129 with an integrated housing. More recent and higher-priced cameras, such as the GoPro Hero 4, cost $499 and can be operated either within or outside the included housing for the device. These cameras, however, are rectangular in shape and will not fit into the square housing shown in GoPro's patent filing.

GoPro may be thinking of diversifying its products after rival companies announced possible competitors to its action cameras. Low-cost smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi recently unveiled the Yi Action Camera that, while not yet available in the United States, does only cost about $64.

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