Every once in a while, comes an innovation, that poses to change the tech space, as we know it. Google’s Project Ara sure looks to be something on that line – a revolutionary concept set to change the way we use a smartphone.
Remember that time when assembled PCs became the thing to crave for? That thrill of buying each individual parts right from the motherboard to the monitor, and fitting them with your own delicate hands? Remember that intense of feeling of satisfaction of building a PC from scratch? What if you could do the same with smartphones? Excited much?
Ever dreamt of hot swapping RAMs, cameras, screens, speakers and almost all parts that you typically take for granted when you carefully choose your smartphone? With Project Ara, Google will make developers out of every one of us, encouraging to build our phones to suit our own needs. This is true experimentation, overdue for a long time in the smartphone market, ever since, I suppose, a certain neo-hippie released the iPhone.
Project Ara, seemed a distant reality until now, after it was announced way back in 2012. However, this year’s I/O conference, held in California changed the game with Google promising first builds of the revolutionary modular phone to be available for the public by 2017. 30 people inside the Advanced Technology and Products Division are already using a working prototype of the phone with a developer build promised to start shipping out later this year. The dream is slowly becoming a reality.
To make every phone unique, to give every phone their own identity, yet maintain a certain uniformity in the interchangeable modules, is what Google is aiming for, with Project Ara. What was before, the jobs of R&D folks of mobile manufacturers, will now be a hobby of tech enthusiasts. It would as easy as saying, “Okay Google, eject the camera”, to release any module.
There would be six slots in the developer’s prototype, composed in a sturdy metal frame. Each slot can accommodate a variety of modules. A module can be anything from a specialized sensor to a battery. The six modular slots are all linked up through a new open standard called Unipro that can push 11.9 gigabits of data per second in both directions, all the time consuming a third as much power as USB 3.
The Project Ara, even at its infancy, is all set to disrupt the entire smartphone market. There’d be infinite choice in the hands of consumers. Thousands of combinations to mix and match to make that one smartphone, with all the features you actually need.
The consumer version of this phone will be the first smartphone to be manufactured by Google (The Nexus devices were made on a contractual basis by other manufacturers) and it will not surface before 2017. However, to whet your appetite just a little bit, LG has come up with their own modular phone, The G5, set to release next month in India, with pre-orders already live.
The smartphone will be offering some modifications for now, with only the battery and an enhanced camera that are hot-swappable, with more modules promised. Storage can go up to 2 TB theoretically. A VR kit, a home monitoring system and a video camera are also a part of LG’s new modular family.
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