Project Ara is Alive, Igor!

Frankenstein-Stills-classic-movies-19760768-1874-1470After years of waiting, Google's long-delayed modular smartphone program will finally be shipping to developers this fall - only it won't be quite the ambitious and bold design we had been expecting.

Liliputing, Ars Technica, and other sites are reporting that Google will be shipping the next round of Project Ara developer kits to developers this fall. This promise was made at Google's  I/O conference on Friday, and it was accompanied by a much less grandiose vision for a modular smartphone.

Rather than assembling every part of a smartphone from removable components, the core of the phone will be integrated into the phone. From Ars:

The Ara body contains a fixed CPU, GPU, antennas, sensors, battery, and display. The Ara page says this "frees up more room for hardware in each module," but it also removes Ara's promise of upgradability. The modules will now be for the camera and speakers, along with accessories to the base smartphone like a fingerprint reader or an extra display.

The new model has a 5.3" display and room for 6 modules.  The screen, CPU, storage, antennas, and battery are not removable, but other components like the camera are removable.

project ara

In fact, one of the tricks shown off at the demo today was a voice command which made the camera module fly off when a Google rep said “OK Google, eject the camera”. (I for one love that feature; I am looking forward to doing it to other people's phones.)

Otherwise you'll have to use a software menu to tell the phone to eject a module; it's not going to be quite as hot-swappable or plug-and-play as Google had previously promised.

So basically, the initial Project Ara promises were overly ambitious. Well, at least it still looks pretty nifty:

About Nate Hoffelder (11593 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

2 Comments on Project Ara is Alive, Igor!

  1. The new Google Glass. We’ll have a few years of wild hype and then it will disappear into the hole with all Google’s other hardware manufacturing failures.

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