Project Ara, the revolutionary smartphone concept that first gained widespread attention in the form of a little video for an imagined modular smartphone, might just be sitting in your pocket about this time next year.
The concept, which revolves around a single modular endoskeleton and user-swappable parts that upgrade the abilities of the unit, has already seen a developer’s conference and the release of a module developer’s kit, might be available as soon as January 2015. Backed by tech giant Google, Project Ara is essentially a shell, and a whole slew of components that users can slot in at will, changing the performance, abilities and even aesthetics of the device they own.
Reports floating around the Internet peg the basic endoskeleton, or frame upon which other modules will attach, as having a lifespan of five to six years. If executed as imagined, this could very drastically change the way the smartphone game is played by manufacturers around the world.
According to a report by Engadget, the basic unit, composed of a screen, battery, processor and Wi-Fi radio, would only cost Google USD 50 to manufacture. Even at twice that, we could be looking at an initial cost of just PHP 4,400 or so.
Though it seems logical for Ara to run the Android OS, in its current state, Android doesn’t really have the necessary infrastructure to handle dynamic hardware such as that Ara will sport. This may mean a different operating system, or, possible, a whole overhaul of Google’s mobile OS. It seems like something in which Google would be very willing to invest, so it’s going to be a very interesting 2015 for all of us.