Google’s Project Ara: Build you modular smartphone starting from a $50 exoskeleton

By Alexandra Burlacu | Feb 27, 2014 07:45 AM EST

Share This Story

  • Print
  • Email


Google reportedly plans to sell a simple version of its Ara modular smartphone, which would cost as little as $50.

Project Ara has been in the news for quite some time, as it is an innovative concept that would render a unique smartphone experience.

Follow us

Google is reportedly increasing its focus on the Ara platform and has revealed that it plans to sell a simple version of the modular smartphone for roughly $50.

The company has also revealed more details about the concept in a recent interview with Time. First of all, project Ara stems from R&D by Phoneblocks in collaboration with Motorola. Google may have sold Motorola to Lenovo, but it held on to the Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, so the Ara concept remains at Google.

According to the Time report, Google's current plan is quite ambitious, aiming to create a "grayphone," i.e. a barebones, customizable exoskeleton that would basically have just a screen, a frame, a Wi-Fi radio, and very little else. This overly-simplified model should cost just about $50 and will be "designed to be sold at convenience stores." The modular concept on which the Ara project is based would then allow users to customize this exoskeleton device however they wanted.

The whole upgrade process sounds very intriguing. Users will be able to tweak soft design elements via an on-board app, and would be able to upgrade the device's physical components from special kiosks, Google's Paul Eremenko further told Time. Such kiosks would be specifically designed to fit into shipping containers and go across the world, containing parts and tools for Ara users to tweak their device's hardware.

"Among the ATAP initiatives that have been announced, one in particular is quintessentially Google-y. It's Project Ara, which aims to reinvent the smartphone by breaking it down into modules that can be assembled and customized in a limitless number of configurations," explains the Time report.

Google first acknowledged the project's existence back in late October last year, when it offered some teaser images but very little concrete details. The company has now decided to offer more details as it's gearing up for an Ara developer conference it will be holding at Silicon Valley's Computer History Museum on April 15-16, Time further reveals. There's no concrete timeframe set yet for when the product would actually hit the market, but it may see the light of day in about a year from now.

Eremenko reportedly highlighted that Google's vision for this project was to make it "great, not profitable," which would explain the $50 price point targeted for the simple version of the device. Project Ara still has a long way to go, but we'll keep you up to date as soon as we learn more about this ambitious effort.



Get the Most Popular Mobile&Apps Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

google, Motorola, Phoneblocks, Project Ara, Modular Smartphone

Join Our Conversation

The HTC logo is seen with different devices from the brand HTC M10 Perfume Launching A Month Later After MWC 2016
Lava Unleashes New P7 Device Into The Indian Market
New Disney Phone Coming To Japan
Xiaomi Locks Redmi Note 3, Mi 4c And Mi Note Pro; Others To Follow Suit?
Tablet / Laptop / PC
Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 Dell unveils Venue 7 and Venue 8 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean tablets
Retina iPad Mini facing delays, may not launch until early next year
Refurbished 128GB iPad with Retina Display now available on the Apple Online Store
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition: Pricing and availability now official
Amazon Logo Amazon reportedly to launch ‘Firetube’ set-top box before 2013 holidays
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear India launch: Pricing and availability
Samsung Galaxy Gear Android smartwatch now up for pre-order in Canada
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 reportedly in the works already, may debut at CES or MWC 2014
OS / Software
HTC Logo HTC reportedly considering Android/Windows Phone dual-booting smartphone as Microsoft pushes for deeper Windows mobile integration
iOS 7 Chrome Incognito mode leaks private searches due to bug
Sprint HTC One Android 4.3 Jelly Bean already rolling out, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon to follow
Microsoft Windows 8.1 now available for pre-order
Internet / Social Media
Google Downtime Google blacks out for two minutes, causes 40 percent drop in world’s Internet traffic
Xbox Music web player is live and ready for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
Facebook Android app collected phone numbers even if users never logged in
Firefox 22 brings support for web video calls, 3D gaming, and Unreal Engine 3
What's App
ZTE's new lease program ZTE’s new Lease-to-own Program for Mobile Devices
LG’s G Pay to Take on Google, Samsung and Apple
Facebook: Taxes in the UK and a new Shopping tab
Samsung’s VR Headset to be Released at $99, Hulu Jumps Onboard with Apps Ready

Most Popular

© 2016 IBT Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.mobilenapps