Google Demonstrates Project Ara – A true modular Smartphone

Ever wondered that what if you could only upgrade your phone’s camera by not buying a new handset? You may like the camera of Samsung, Speaker of HTC and Screen of LG. But not all of these fit into one single Smartphone. You have to upgrade your phone every year or two. Google have a solution for this. Google’s modular Smartphone of project Ara is a Smartphone that has different modules for primary camera, secondary camera, speakers etc. so you can change or upgrade which one you need the most. 

Project Ara is a Smartphone initiative set by Google in 2013. Ara is named after one of the project’s early instigators  Ara Knaian. The concept of Project Ara was to build a Smartphone that has separate interconnection components. It can use the hardware system as like the existing app ecosystem. The Smartphone will have different hardware components like a PC that is changeable. 

Google demonstrated the Ara modular Smartphone in Google I/O Developer Conference 2016. The phone has six modular slots located on the back part. Six different hardware components can be attached in six different modular slots. A button on the right side of the device can display all the modules attached to it. A module can be ejected easily by tapping the photo of the module in the settings or simply by saying “OK Google, eject the camera”. It is just like adding or removing USB drive of your PC. The six proprietary ports created by the team use an open standard UniPro, and each one can support up to 11.9 Gbps. About 30 people in Google’s Advanced Technology and Products divisions are said to be using Ara as their primary device.


Earlier on the development, it was planned to place processors, RAM, GPU to be in the modular slots. But however Google removed it. The phone’s body is now assembled with standard processor, RAM, GPU and battery units, antennas and sensors. Users can still be able to replace Speaker, primary and secondary camera, secondary screen and kickstand. Google says that this will free up more room for truly innovative modules.


Google is working with the hardware manufacturers like Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, TDK, iHealth, E Ink to create the modules of the phone. The modules will be created maintaining common Google standard and can be attached to the primary phone. At Google I/O 2016, Google announced that they are developing a 5.3inches version of the Project Ara phone for the developers. It will be available in Autumn 2016. The phone will be out commercially in 2017.  Google said that the final design will be more thinner and sophisticated.

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