It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on what Google has been doing with Project Ara, but there surely is one now. The search giant announced at this year’s Google I/O conference that a new Project Ara developer phone will be available by the end of this year, and a consumer-ready model in 2017. That’s good news for everyone waiting for the modular revolution in smartphones to start.
If you don’t remember what Project Ara is, this is the effort to finally build a truly modular smartphone, with the user able to swap and upgrade different elements such as the screen, the processor/chipset, the camera, and the storage elements – among other elements – depending on the need and upgrade. Google showed what Project Ara was capable of in this video below.
As you can see, the modules fit together in the chassis pretty well. What’s more, the modules are presented in an assortment of colors, and it looks like users can create a phone with multiple colors. The models Google showed off definitely catch the eye – they look strange for the uninitiated – but they’re definitely not ugly.
From what is shown here, it looks like this version of Ara will support as much as 6 different modules, and they’re hot swappable – do an “OK Google” command and you can remove a module, pop in a new one in its place without rebooting. Of course, Google will still be relying on partner manufacturers to develop and manufacture their own modules for Ara.