Friday, November 21, 2014



A smartphone exclusively for six billion people. That’s what Google declares, as it continues work on what might be a revolutionary milestone in the journey of smartphones. The manner in which smartphones are assembled, designed, and used is about to undergo a huge overhaul if Google succeeds in making this “modular” mobile phone a feasible reality.

Project Ara is the codename for a venture by Google aiming to build a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones that are assembled into metal endoskeletal frames (endos). These metal frames are the only components in the smartphone that is going to be manufactured by Google, acting as the switch to the on-device network linking all the modules together. The modules are going to be completely according to the choice of the user, for instance, a keyboard, display or an extra battery. This project seeks to significantly reduce electronic waste and ensure a longer life span for the handsets by enabling users to swap out malfunctioning modules or upgrade individual modules as innovations emerge.



Google’s target market for Project Ara encompasses not just 1 billion smartphone users but also the 5 billion feature phone users, paving the way for the entry of hundreds of thousands of developers and not just a handful of big players; anyone will be able to build a module without having to require a licence or paying fee. Modules can provide the usual smartphone utilities like camera, speakers, etc. and also more specialized features, and are secured with electropermanent magnets.

Google intends to sell a starter kit with billed materials worth $50 and comprising of a frame, display, battery, low-end CPU and Wi-Fi. The frames come in three sizes- mini (45 x 118 x 9.7 mm), medium (68 x 141 x 9.7 mm) and large (91 x 164 x 9.7 mm) with rear module slots of 2 x 5, 3 x 6 and 4 x 7 respectively. Each one of these frames is expected to cost around $15.

Now let’s sit back and watch a revolution unfold.


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