Earlier this week, Google revealed its groundbreaking project Ara, the first modular cellphone. The phone will contain slots in which you can place different modular tiles (such as a better speaker or more storage space), which are held in by magnets and able to be turned on or off based on the user’s preference. Ara is scheduled to be ready sometime in 2015.
Project Ara contains an endoskeleton, acting as the “spine” of the phone, connecting all the modules together. Among the different types of modules are processors, WiFi, different displays, different screens, batteries, cameras, RAM, power jacks, and even a fingerprint scanner. The modules will be sold similarly to how Apps are today, with the ability to print your own modules out at home with a 3-D printer. You will also be able to buy modules from different companies for tiles such as your camera, enabling the chance to build the perfect phone for you. Ara is even designed to last beyond six years, as compared to many modern day phones who seem to struggle to even hit the two year mark.
Ara will come in three different phones, including a basic phone, known as the “gray model”, which will essentially only contain a screen and WiFi. After that, the different number of module starts at six and moves up to the largest model, the “phablet”. The phone will run on future Android mobile operating system. Prices are said to be anywhere from $50-$500 once Ara is released.
While there are many perks to this revolutionary project, such as having the capability to ultimately control what you need and want in a cell phone, there are some set backs. Google’s Ara will be thicker and heavier than many modern phones, and many of the modular tiles use radio frequencies (which requires FCC approval). However, Ara is currently only half way through it’s two year mission and Google’s ATAP group (advanced technology and projects, acquired from Motorola and kept even after Motorola was sold to Lenovo) is working to make it easier to use.
Regardless the issues with project Ara, one must respect Google’s go big or go home attitude, constantly displaying vastly ambitious ideas such as Glass (which was recently made available to the public, selling out of the white model) and Ara. Their radical idea’s are refreshing to say the least, with less recycling than many other technological based companies. However, the future of Ara remains incredibly vague, with its success relying on it’s support group.
Google’s project Ara is groundbreaking and a fantastic concept, allowing the owner to truly turn their mobile device into what they need and want. If all goes swimmingly, Ara will be easy to use, and will change the future of cellphones forever, finally creating a device whose customization is real and not just changing the color from white to black, hoping to make purchasing less of a game of chance.
With all the uncertainties behind Google’s project Ara one thing is certain, it’ll either be a flop, or at the top.
By Devon Struble
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