How Google’s Project Ara could change the world, piece by piece

Project Ara

Yesterday, The Verge carried a fascinating hands-on look at Google’s Project Ara, a new concept that could well revolutionise the entire smartphone industry. Constructed around the idea of modular personalisation and customisation, Ara looks to provide customers with a blank canvas to build their own device exactly how they want it.

With Project Ara, users can pick and choose the size of the device, its screen and battery, and what components they want included, all fitting together with electromagnets. A dab hand at photography? Then put in a better camera. Want to multitask? Add a larger, faster processor. The possibilities are fascinating.

"When this goes to market, this will be the most custom, mass-market product ever created by mankind," the team’s leader, Paul Eremenko said.

The concept is truly innovative, and the ability to build your dream device isn’t even the end of it. ATAP, the division behind Project Ara, is the sole remainder of Google’s handset division following the sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo earlier this year, and also revealed that it is working on a so-called "gray phone," a bare-bones device with little more than a processor, Wi-Fi module, and a screen. This device will look to target the five billion people worldwide who currently don’t use a smartphone, and introduce them to the benefits that being connected brings.

"The challenges that ATAP (the division behind Ara) needs to overcome are formidable to say the least," writes Dieter Bohn, the author of The Verge’s article, and he isn’t wrong. With a team of just three and a self-set deadline of only two years, it will be fascinating to see how Project Ara turns out, and the effect it has not just on the smartphone market, but the world as a whole.

 

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