Intro to Project Ara
Project ARA is the code-name for an initiative that aims to develop an open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. The platform will include a structural frame or endoskeleton that holds smartphone modules of the owner’s choice, such as a display, camera, flash, speakers, a powerful CPU/GPU, an extra battery, Night Vision maybe!
Despite its showcase in Google’s I/O Conference in 2014, the modular device is coming in developers’ hands in fall 2016. Google is trying to do the same tweak it did with software part by making android an open source project, this time in case of hardware part. You too can become a part of it just by going to Project Ara’s official site and registering yourself, even if have the tiniest idea or full development for a module. If you’ve been living under a rock and know nothing about Project Ara, Check out the videos below :
The project was originally headed by the Advanced Technology and Projects team within Motorola Mobility while it was a subsidiary of Google. Although Google has since divested Motorola to Lenovo, it retained the Advanced Technology and Projects group—which has since worked under the direction of the Android division. It now has its own business unit within Google’s mysterious Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, and the nearly magical modular hardware we’ve been anticipating for years is indeed getting closer. ATAP Head of Creative Blaise Bertrand confirmed at Google’s I/O conference that a new developer phone will be available in Q4 of this year with a “thin, light, beautiful” consumer Ara phone to follow in 2017.
Ara will be available in 3 sizes.
|Frame||Size||Rear Module Slots|
|Mini||118 × 45 × 9.7 mm
(4.65 × 1.77 × 0.38 in)
|2 x 5|
|Medium||141 × 68 × 9.7 mm
(5.55 × 2.68 × 0.38 in)
|3 x 6|
|Large||164 × 91 × 9.7 mm
(6.46 × 3.58 × 0.38 in)
|4 x 7|
It would allow users to swap out malfunctioning modules or upgrade individual modules as innovations emerge, providing longer lifetime cycles for the handset, and potentially reducing electronic waste. Project Ara smartphone is scheduled to begin pilot testing in the United States in 2016 with a target bill of materials cost of $50 for a basic grey phone.
The new Ara frame supports up to six modules, which form what Google calls the “World’s first UniPro Network” with the phone. Don’t worry, Future frames can be larger or smaller, and future modules will also be compatible with earlier Ara devices. Most importantly, it seems much, much easier to install modules and start using them. All you have to do is plug one in and you’re good to go; the process doesn’t even require a reboot. Ejecting them is simple too, if a little more involved: You’ll have to jump into the settings app and select which module you want to eject. Once done, the module physically pops up from the back of the device. You’ll even be able to eject modules with voice commands like “OK Google, eject the camera.”
Customizing this modular device would be endless. Infinite number of combos will be available. You can have a fair idea by checking the images below :
Google Home coming this fall. Check out here.