Google will reportedly show off a working Project Ara prototype at MWC
Google will reportedly show off up to 50 components for its Project Ara modular smartphone concept at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next month.
Rumours suggest that although not all of the modules will be in working condition, there should be a complete working version of a Project Ara device at MWC.
Project Ara was first announced by Motorola Mobility in 2013 and is envisioned as a free, open hardware platform that will allow users to create highly customised smartphones.
Project Ara launch
Modules such as displays, cameras and storage can be changed by simply snapping off one module and replacing it with another. This would allow users to incrementally improve their smartphones, reducing waste and the cost of upgrading.
The project was not included as part of Lenovo’s takeover of Motorola in 2014 and is now under the remit of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) lab. The second Project Ara developer conference was held earlier this year and Puerto Rico has been chosen as the location for a pilot device.
Toshiba has 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. The company told the Modular Smartphone Forum that it also plans to create designs for wireless charging, NFC and external memory. However it is not believed any of the modules will be commercially available until 2016.
Google had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.
Until recently, ATAP also ran Project Tango, Google’s effort to teach smartphones and tablets to perceive depth through sensors. The first prototypes of Tango-enabled smartphones are expected at some point in 2015 after the project graduated to Google’s mainstream business.
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