So, Google seems quite serious about the Project Ara, a concept of modular smartphones. According to the reports emerging from the Time, Google is looking seriously at the very real possibility of releasing the first modular smartphone from Project Ara. The minds behind Project Ara, i.e., Advanced technology and project group (ATAP) is working hard to get the first prototype ready within next few weeks. In fact, they are also planning to begin the release of a consumer version as soon as the prototype has been released.
While the name itself suggest that there could be multiple devices through the Project Ara, Time reveals that the ATAP group is particularly focused on developing a basic and low cost device. The price could be as low as $50 and if this happens to be true, it would change the definition of a word smartphone. Well, I should say it would change the entire sentence of “best smartphones cost little extra” to “best smartphones may cost as little as $50”. Though, I can’t really call it a smartphone as it will probably come up with the WiFi only network and no cellular network but that’s not a big deal for people who are dependent on WiFi rather than cellular network. There’s one more concept that’s emerging out from the ATAP group. The team believes that the consumers would buy extra add-on plugins to enhance the usability and that would simply make the device more powerful.
As of now, the group has declined to comment on where the device would be released first but it did mention that it is planning to expand the project Ara as early as possible. The team also stated that the device will come in three different versions i.e., mini, medium and jumbo. So practically, we will have a smaller, very basic version, a mid-range variant and probably a phablet.
According to the reports from Time, the device will have an electronic backbone which will keep the pieces together. This will give the company a better control over the core of each Ara device. Currently, the ATAP group is testing out the first Ara device where they have used 4mm thick electronic backbone. According to the team, the thickness never go beyond 10mm. Well, this limit seems quite bigger than the current device’s thickness. The most recent iPhone has the thickness of 7.6mm. The team has also mentioned that these pieces or rather modules would be well built and won’t fall at random even if the device hits the floor. The team is expecting to release an app which would lock this modules with the backbone. Once you’ve unlocked it using this app, you’ll be able to remove the modules.
“The question was basically, could we do for hardware what Android and other platforms have done for software?” Eremenko, to the Time.
There’re no mentions of type of the material these modules will use or who would be manufacturing them but ATAP group is planning to reveal more information in the series of conferences in April, this year.
As of now the project Ara is quite new and it would take some more time to capture the attention of bigger audience. What’s interesting is the fact that the ATAP group is still working on keeping the price of the device to somewhere near $50. It would be interesting to see how developers would adapt to this new technology in coming years.