Google forges ahead with modular smartphone with 'Project Ara'

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Laughingdemon)A concept for project Ara. Created during the open development process on dScout.

Google, Inc. is continuing with Project Ara, which is aimed at creating a modular smartphone consumers can stick together in whatever configuration they want.

The idea is to let consumers put phone parts together to build a unique and personalized smartphone. Consumers will choose components they want depending on their needs. It will also make it easier for consumers to upgrade their phones simply by replacing parts like the processor or camera.

A YouTube video shows that modular devices are likely to be available in three configurations: mini, medium and big. The mini has six modules and is likely to be a phone.

The medium configuration with seven modules will most likely be a phablet. The big with nine modules is likely to be a tablet. The different modules will attach to each other using electro-permanent magnets.

A Google executive said the best design statement Google can make is that this phone can flow and adapt just as much lives can flow and adapt.

A modular phone is not a new concept. Modu, an Israeli firm, was working on a modular phone in 2007. Modu's idea was to make a phone that is small, lightweight and unobtrusive unlike big and thick five inches celphones.

The core phone won't have everything but it will allow users to add or remove features depending on what they are doing. The technologies Modu was working on were later bought by Google.

Project Ara was formerly part of Motorola. Google did not sell Project Ara when it sold Motorola to Lenovo for $2.9 billion last January. The team working on Project Ara has now become a part of Google's Android team.

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