When Google first introduced the Project Ara back in 2014, it was more of a dream project, but now is very close to the reality. Though Google has missed the timelines for launching it, it is coming. Project Ara is a Google-made modular smartphone, much more modular than an LG G5 or anything ever made, truly customizable hardware.
Now at Google I/O 2016, the project Ara was showcased as a prototype. This time Google has made progress and shared that they will release it in 2017. Meanwhile, the device will be beta tested by developers this year.
The concept has undergone drastic changes as there were issues with the reliability in the design of the device, it failed to drop tests.
The ARA concept smartphone will be divided into blocks and would be enclosed in a frame, so every second section like camera, the battery will come as detachable and can be joined with one’s desired module.
Google is also working with Lenovo to develop a smartphone known as the Google Project Tango – A smartphone which can see things like never before.
One major challenge with this design is that it should be rigid enough to withstand drops and knocks, as everything will fall apart from the frame if dropped.
Google has spent hours and days on R&D to make a better form factor. This time Google also revealed the design strategy of the Ara smartphone on its ATAP website.
There will be some core components in the frame and rest of the pieces can be added as required.
The frame will include a CPU, antenna, battery, display, and sensors. Which are the standard hardware of a smartphone, along with this there is space for six modules, like camera, speakers, microphone, E-ink display, GPS, and fingerprint scanner? The a will get attached to the frame magnetically which got revealed through the patent applications.
For the detachable design, ,the Ara smartphone will use a separate kernel named Greybus which carries the function of detection and communication between the modules and the frame.
The Cool thing is, Detach function so that within the software, so whenever you need to change a module, it can be done by navigating into settings or by a simple OK Google voice command.
Imagine the Ara smartphone as your PC’s motherboard, where you can upgrade parts like RAM, Processor, and storage device at any time according to your choice.
The same approach is followed by the project ARA Here the circuitry for parts like speakers, microphone, and fingerprint modules will include slots and allows swapping of modules physically, while the other complex parts like display, processor, RF sections demonstrated integrated into the frame.
Google is making this project as open source so that phone makers can adopt the Modular concept into their smartphones, and developers can develop their modules for smartphones just like making apps and games.
The progression of project ara came to light after the LG G5’s modular design which also prompted Google to show that its project Ara is not dead. Apart from a smartphone, there is also an Ara tablet that has clandestinely shown presence on a benchmark site, so the modular concept will be seen in wide range of devices in future.
But is this going to replace the traditional smartphone design?
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