Project Ara Modular phone concept gets Autumn release date for developers and 2017 for general public
Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone concept could be just a few months from release, with a developer version available in the Autumn, followed by a consumer edition sometime in 2017
Project Ara will allow effectively allow users to build their own device from scratch, choosing which components form a six-part design. For example, one person may opt for a larger battery over more storage, or a better camera module.
The idea is that users can upgrade their devices incrementally as technology improves, reducing wear and electronic waste, while allowing for customisation.
Build and go
Originally announced back in 2013 as part of Motorola Mobility, Project Ara survived the sale of that unit to Lenovo the following year, becoming part of Google’s Advanced Technology and Products (ATAP) division.
Google also unveiled an updated website for Project Ara, including some new videos showing off how the concept will work. The video shows users quickly clipping modules in and out of the device, including audio recording, cameras and music playback parts, meaning that this will be a device for both work and play.
All the central hardware for Project Ara, such as the CPU, GPU, antennas, sensors, battery and display, is contained within its frame, freeing up more room for hardware in each module.
Google sees Project Ara as being a free and open hardware platform, and is now and is inviting applications from developers for the new devices that will be sent out later this year.
The company had previously given away 100 versions of an early build of Project Ara back in July 2014 as it looked to kick-start development of new modules. Among confirmed developers so far is Toshiba, which has previously shown off early reference designs for camera modules and is working on eight and 13 megapixel rear sensors as well as a two megapixel front facing lens.