A few years ago Google proposed a modular phone made of components that could be easily swapped out and upgraded. Luckily for consumers sick of buying a new phone every year, Google just green-lit the Project Ara smartphone – and it’s set to ship out next year.
Google announced that Ara would actually see the light of day at their recent development conference. The latest model features a frame with six slots for different hardware modules, which snap into place like LEGO bricks. Rafa Camargo, engineer for Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, demonstrated the camera to a captivated crowd, stressing how it can be used immediately after snapping into place. The phone also features a voice command to eject the modules when you’re done.
Google has enlisted partners to develop modules that provide a wide array of functions ranging from cameras, speakers and microphones to sensors, radios, graphic accelerators, and even a glucose meter. Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Micron, and iHealth are just some of the players setting the stage for Ara’s spectrum of functions.
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Having removable pieces to swap in and out makes the Ara phone endlessly customizable and much more affordable to upgrade, when compared to buying a whole new smartphone. According to Forbes, a developer edition will be available this fall and a sleeker, thinner consumer edition will be ready to go next year.
+ Google Project Ara
Images via Google