For the last two years Google has been quietly developing new technologies to create modular smart phones.
We’re all familiar with modular software in our phones. Whatever your interests or needs “there’s an app for that.” This is the same idea except that it applies to the pieces-parts of a cell phone.
Ara looks like a basic rectangular frame (they call it the Endoskeleton) that’s subdivided into smaller rectangular buckets. On the back are circuit boards and contacts. It’s here that you snap in rectangular bricks for each module, say one block for an 8-megapixel camera, and another block for the processor. You can also slide in the screen you want and add other, more specialized equipment, say a medical or gaming add-on, that’s far too niche for mainstream phones.
One big benefit of the Ara technology is that anyone can buy a basic smart phone for about $50, and then add functionality to it based on their needs, wants, and pocket book.
Google recently announced that users will be able to swap components while the phone is still running, even when a dying battery is swapped with a fresh one – something that could work as a huge draw for those with busy lifestyles.
With a radiation sensor having also been recently announced by a Russian company called Intersoft, the possibilities are quickly beginning to look endless. That said, it’s not just consumers and techies that are getting excited by the project, as retailers are also looking forward to the release.
What’s more, experts predict that Project Ara will shake up the big two giants of the industry, Samsung and Apple, loosening their long-held grip and creating a new corner of a long occupied market.
Word on the street is that Ara may start being available as early as August 2015.