Shalom Life | April 19, 2014

Google's Modular Phone Will Change the Mobile Industry

Project Ara, revealed at a conference in Mountain View yesterday, is Google's attempt at developing a phone with interchangeable components

By: Daniel Koren

Published: April 16th, 2014 in Business » World

Every day, for at least the past few years if not a decade, you would have no trouble in finding news stories about Google. A company that to call large would be an insult, and with its hand in industries that range from hightech to healthcare applications, the Mountain View-based Google is perpetually en route to altering, for the better, how we communicate, interact and live with one another. True visionaries trying to bring the future to today.

But if you were to Google 'Google' right now, with as many news stories that are covering their ongoing advances, much of what you are going to find will include two words: Project Ara.

Yes, people are excited (those in the hightech community in particular) after the unveiling yesterday of Project Ara, Google's plans for its modular smartphone.

Ahead of the curve, as always, the Google phone would be customizable, meaning you can swap and interchange hardware components, essentially unlike any other phone on the market, and revolutionizing the mobile phone industry.

The company laid out its plans for Project Ara at a conference in Mountain View, with project head Paul Eremenko saying the phone will galvanize the "IKEA effect" into the mobile phone market. "Let the consumer make…changes over their own life and their own evolution," he said.

They also revealed a rough preliminary draft of what the phone would look like (see above), an edoskeleton of sorts that will accept different component modules, whether it be a battery, camera, processor, etc. The modules will be held with electromagnets, which Google confirmed was the first time such a magnet is being used in a smartphone.

Google is looking to release these endoskeleton versions, dubbed 'Grey' phones, to developers interested in the project, including three different sizes: Mini, Medium, and Large. With each size increase, the Grey includes more room for modules.

Most people, myself included, have yet to see a phone with such capabilities.

Eremenko said that he wants users to look at Ara phones as immersive, unique and cutting-edge. "[It's] the kind of thing you can put on the table at dinner and the first 10-15 minutes of the conversation is about the phone," he said.

Price wise, it's ultimately difficult to decipher how much east would cost individually, though reports indicate a developer kit will be valued at around $50 for developers, with add-ons (display, camera, Wi-Fi block, etc.) to garner up to $600. Though Google isn't looking to release the world's most expensive phone. "Pricing is something that's beyond the scope of a [research-and-development] effort," said Eremenko. "That's a product organization question and it's dependent on geography and carrier and things."

Eremenko concludes that the purpose of Project Ara is to create an entire ecosystem of interchangeable, customizable components, allowing users to switch modules to create a phone that is ideal and unique to them.

Google hopes to have the Ara smartphone on the markets as early as next year.

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