Google wants to revolutionise how you use and buy smartphones by creating a device where you can swap out different parts of its hardware on-the-go, like the battery, camera, speakers, or screen.
A base frame contains the phone’s core components, but each additional part will be bought separately so that your phone specialises in whatever you want it to, whether that’s having great speakers or a fish-eye camera lens.
The company has been working on this modular phone concept, dubbed Project Ara, for three years, but it’s finally moving it out of the skunkworks division ATAP and into Google-proper under its new hardware exec, Rick Osterloh.
Ara will start shipping developer kits this fall and actual consumer products sometime next year. That second part is particularly surprising: Google hadn’t announced before that it actually planned to build its own device.
“It will be thin, it will be light, it will be beautiful, and we’ll launch it next year,” Google’s Richard Woolridge said on stage at Google’s IO developers’ conference.
The device will have six different sections where modules can be snapped in and out.
Here’s the company’s video on the vision of Project Ara:
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