How many of you remember Project Ara? Yes, that modular smartphone first introduced by Motorola way back in 2013. Google bought Motorola and when it sold it to Lenovo, Google kept Project Ara and Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group with it. This modular smartphone had literally disappeared with no news about its development. Now, it looks like Google is serious about Project Ara and plans to launch it by 2017.
On the last day of Google I/O 2016, the company did provide some details about Project Ara and its future. Google will start shipping it to the developers later this year, however, the consumer model will only be available in 2017. Fill out this form if you are a developer and would like to receive a developer unit. The developer unit will be running on Android (well obviously) and will sport a 5.3-inch screen.
The phone will have a total of six modular slots for camera, audio, etc. Any module can be inserted into any slot. However, the phone technology is now integrated into the frame itself. What this means is that while camera, audio and other modules can be removed, parts like CPU, battery and display are not swappable.
All of the modules of Project Ara are controlled via software. You can say “Ok Google, eject the camera” and the camera module will be immediately ejected. The good thing is that you don’t have to reboot the phone whenever a module is inserted/removed. There’s also a button on the side of the phone which will provide you an overview of all the modules.
Google has partnered with Panasonic, TDK, iHealth, E Ink, Toshiba, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Samsung to create modules for Project Ara. The type of modules possible for this modular smartphone will only increase when Google starts shipping the developer units as more and more developers will come up with new and innovative modules to make use of the modular design of Project Ara.
Check out this YouTube video of Project Ara below.
So, what do you think about Project Ara?