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Google expects Project Ara phone to cost $50, plans on kiosks for after purchase additions

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Google expects Project Ara phone to cost $50, plans on kiosks for after purchase additions
Earlier on Wednesday, we told you about the the first Ara Developers Conference that will take place between April 15 and April 16 in Mountain View, California. Project Ara is the modular phone that was originally a project being handled by Motorola, but was kept by Google as part of the Motorola purchase by Lenovo. The conference will be held the same month that Google releases the Ara Module Developers’ Kit (MDK).

Now, some more information about Google's desires for Project Ara have come out. For example, Google wants the entry level unit priced no higher than $50. For that price, buyers would get a touchscreen, Wi-Fi radio, and the circuitry to run both. Google plans on opening kiosks where Ara owners can purchase additional parts to snap in to their phone, allowing an Ara owner to go from low-end, to mid-range and perhaps even high-end model, with a few key component additions.

"The question was basically, could we do for hardware what Android and other platforms have done for software? Which means lower the barrier to entry to such a degree that you could have tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of developers as opposed to just five or six big [manufacturers] that could participate in the hardware space."-Paul Eremenko, Google

Paul Eremenko, from Google's ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) group says that a functioning prototype of the Ara phone is weeks away. A version ready for launch is expected in the first quarter of 2015.


source: TIME via AndroidCentral

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posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:02 1

1. TechBlue (Posts: 62; Member since: 06 May 2010)


the question is how much are the mods.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:32 1

16. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2688; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


And my concern is if it falls then the parts should not fall apart and making it difficult to rejoin. I hope they will do it well.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 00:07 1

31. navi0013 (Posts: 4; Member since: 03 Feb 2014)


good question, heheh...

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 00:12 6

34. Max_Boost (Posts: 59; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


Just put a case for it. It looks fugly sticking out bare like that anyways. LOL

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 09:18 1

47. sgodsell (Posts: 1283; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


Even if the mods are double the price. It still will be cheaper in the long run. Think about it for a moment. When a new CPU comes out with more memory. Now you don't have to get rid of the entire phone. Or if a new screen comes out. Or say you want to use e-ink to save battery life. New storage, New camera. This opens up new avenues and revenues. When all you have to do is just replace a component for a new one. This is the new PC.
Now just hurry up Google. I will buy a lot of them. ;-)

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:08 3

2. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3624; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Question is, what the hell is this?

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:20 39

3. sriuslywtf (Posts: 249; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


Innovation.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 05:25 1

39. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3624; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Like the moto x lol? Yeah that's real innovation.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 07:49 7

41. jroc74 (Posts: 4926; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Fail on your part trying to change the subject. And the Moto X overall was innovative. There were a few last year and this year that were...not just the Moto X.

If you dont think this phone is innovation....I just feel sorry for you. If this works this could be the most innovative phone since...I dont know when. Maybe since the orig iPhone. Or the phones that turned into tablets, laptop. Funny that Moto is part of that hybrid phone trend too.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 08:15 3

44. Sniggly (Posts: 7104; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Well, the Moto X WAS declared more innovative than the iPhone 5s. It even got Mike Elgan to use Android, despite his general loathing of the platform.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 08:25 3

45. SellPhones82 (Posts: 514; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


The fact that you're even trying to compare a modular phone to the Moto X shows you have no grasp of the modular phone concept or your're making a bad attempt at trolling; I'm going with the latter. I would love to know what your option would be had Apple thought of this first. My guess is you'd flip the script and suddenly see it as innovation and proof of how "great" Apple is.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 07:50 1

42. jroc74 (Posts: 4926; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Prefect response....+1000 to you.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 09:29 4

48. sgodsell (Posts: 1283; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


Its really a smartphone PC. In the PC days you could easily swap out parts like the CPU, change the video card, swap out the motherboard.
This will give you the ability to swap out components for newer ones. So if a new camera comes out, swap that component out for a newer one. If you want to add a different storage or add in an SD card slot, then add it on. If a new screen comes out or you want to use an e-ink screen, then swap it out.
There is the next step in the evolution to marry the PC/notebook/tablet/phone together. To sum it up innovation.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 11:01 3

49. domfonusr (Posts: 372; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)


That kind of thinking is what makes me wonder if this is the very thing that could soon shake up the entire industry. All of a sudden, you could end up with thousands of smaller entry-level companies making Aura-based smartphones of all different types, even with their own proprietary modules included in many cases; and then, some of them may even become incredibly popular. This could be the next big evolution in affordability and uniqueness of smart devices. All iPhone-like devices become obselete together (and I am including many Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone devices in that remark). This could help to usher in the next set of mobile OS's, too. Only time will tell if Project Aura is the beginning of the next phase of the mobile future.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:27 24

11. Sniggly (Posts: 7104; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


A potential industry changer. A step further in the direction that the Moto X laid out.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:33 3

17. Commentator (Posts: 2431; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


I know it's always fun to stamp on Myx's face (and grind it to little gooey, pulpy pieces) but let's be rational here.

"Innovation" and "a potential industry changer"? Those sound more like the hyped buzzwords of an Apple fan circa 2007.

It's a potential operational and marketing experiment, but to assume this will change the industry seems a little much to me. People don't build their own cars for a reason.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:47 3

22. Sniggly (Posts: 7104; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Yes, because no one has made building cars easy. The point of Project Ara is that pretty much everything is supposed to be "plug and play," even easier than pulling a battery out of an Evo 4G.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:52 1

26. Commentator (Posts: 2431; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Just because nobody's made it easy to make cars doesn't mean that nobody COULD make it easy to make cars. As far as I can tell, making smartphones is pretty damn hard too.

But even if Google were to come out with "Project Cara (hahaha)," which made it easy for consumers to pick and choose whatever components they wanted to put in their cars, would it be a hit?

I just don't know if the logistical realities behind what goes into a well-made, cost-effective smartphone (or car, for that matter) would play out well with something like this.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:58 8

28. Scott93274 (Posts: 1168; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


Why are you comparing this to building your own car? It's more akin to building your own desktop computer. And plenty of people do that, I myself have built my last three computers. There's a potential this concept is about as difficult as screwing in a light bulb, and unless you’re blond, that shouldn’t be all that difficult.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 00:11 1

33. Commentator (Posts: 2431; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Plenty of people do, but that's still a drop in the bucket compared to the overall PC market.

There's nothing wrong with it, and I've built my own computers too, but I don't really think "build your own desktop computer" ever exactly changed the whole PC industry.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:48 1

23. Commentator (Posts: 2431; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


...I realize I came off a bit gloomy in my last post, but I really think this is a cool concept in theory. I could envision a scenario in which someone picks up a basic model for themselves. One day they think "you know what? I want a better camera!" And then they walk down to the mall and pick out a new camera module. I could see that working, I guess.

In practice, though, I can only think back to the Moto X's model of "customization": a few different colors. I just can't help but think that it will be tough for Google to get manufacturer support behind this. Google doesn't exactly have the best track-record with hardware... I mean, if there are only two different cameras to choose from, and maybe a couple RAM configurations, what's the point? This would only be viable with a plethora of hardware partners.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:54 2

27. Sniggly (Posts: 7104; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


I don't know how closely you read the article, but what Google is going to do is have developers make parts just like they currently make apps. I don't know if developers will actually be responsible for the manufacture of parts, but even if not, Google can partner with major OEMs to pump them out on a demand basis.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 00:01 2

29. Commentator (Posts: 2431; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


But who are these developers? What quality will they actually be providing?

I mean, it would be nice to see the likes of Carl Zeiss, Qualcomm, and Samsung bring refined OIS cameras, reliable processors, and sharp displays, but these companies face production-constraints as is, with standing contractual obligations to boot.

I guess I'm not sure, but have any major OEMs backed this?

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 01:00 4

35. sriuslywtf (Posts: 249; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


According to Bill Nye.. you hit the nail to the eye.. That's the major concern of this project..If the manufacturers of parts will dig deep into this.

But judging the growth of Android(Software side of modular concept). This could be a potential game changer. Both economically, environmentally, and prevent other phone makers from over saturating the market with their phones. Thus I see innovation.'

What android has done to the software, could possibly be achieved by Ara in terms of hardware.

I'm not apple hater. I admire Steve Jobs as a person and acknowledge him as the modern innovator. But lets be honest after the launch of android, a lot of improvements on softwares both UI and computing efficiency have been implemented. From the looks of it, the big ol apple is playing catch up with IOS 7 right?

It only needs a little push from us end-users to make this a success.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 00:08

32. navi0013 (Posts: 4; Member since: 03 Feb 2014)


it really is.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:22 1

4. Commentator (Posts: 2431; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


I'm not really sure I understand who they're marketing to with this...

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:25 3

7. sriuslywtf (Posts: 249; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


I'm Pretty sure its for the geeky/hacker type of people.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:28 2

13. Commentator (Posts: 2431; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Yeah, but they generally also go for high-end products, and I can't imagine the modules will be anything better than mid-range.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:30 2

14. sriuslywtf (Posts: 249; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


We can only hope that the modules are within our expected "high-end" standards.

Like the RAM, PROC and GRAPHICs card.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:51 1

25. hurrycanger (Posts: 1173; Member since: 01 Dec 2013)


graphics card...
You know what, when I hear "card", I think about sticking the GTX660Ti to the phone...

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 08:38

46. SellPhones82 (Posts: 514; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


Why couldn't modules be high-end? I think that is the whole point of them is that the end-user builds the phone on what matter to them. You'd have choices as far a screen size and quality, the amount of RAM you want, what processor fits your needs, and how high-end of a camera is needed. Then as new processors and/or screens are released you can simply purchase the new modular and swap it with what you currently have and you just upgraded for phone for a fraction of the cost. It'd be nice to see an option to return our older modular for credit towards a new one in order to keep the stuff from going in the trash as well as options to purchase used or refurbished modular at a discounted price. I don't think any of the US carriers are going to like this idea since it will slow down the current life-cycle if customer are only changing out parts of their phone instead of the entire thing at once.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 21:18 1

51. elitewolverine (Posts: 1686; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


size...

Most phones on every model has been changed in terms of space and dimensions, so space will be a huge factor.

Imagine me not being able to upgrade cause I like the 4.5in form factor....

I love the idea...though I wish it was more pc idea, in terms of sockets like a motherboard and placement of such elements but I hope this starts the mod phone revolution. I have been wanting this since the first droid phone.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 01:38 4

38. TechBlue (Posts: 62; Member since: 06 May 2010)


they are marketing to people who are tired of buying a disposable phone

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:23 4

5. AJtheAndroid (Posts: 27; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


The future of smartphones...

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:27 1

10. Commentator (Posts: 2431; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Good luck convincing any major component manufacturer to lend their top goods to this. Google might be able to swing some favors, but it's hard to imagine Sony forking over their best cameras, Samsung their best screens, or Qualcomm their best processors...

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:48 3

24. Scott93274 (Posts: 1168; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


If there's money to be made then I'm sure they'll do it. Sony, ASUS, HP all make computers, & at the same time sell various components for those who want to build their own.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 00:07 1

30. Commentator (Posts: 2431; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


(I wish I could change my name to "Devil's Advocate" just for this article.)

Is there money to be made though? This industry already operates on cut-throat margins, and these companies would have to invest a huge amount into manufacturing components for a project that might only appeal to a small niche. It seems like a lot of effort for a mere possibility.

All I hope is that Google has prepared one heck of a sales-pitch.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 01:34 1

37. Scott93274 (Posts: 1168; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


You do have valid arguments so all is good, but I must disagree with you. A lot of the manufacturer's costs come from the overall development of the phone, component manufacturing, assembly, software customization costs, marketing. By specialization (Focusing your resources on hardware development of a single component, you can avoid a significant amount of the costs and still make a profit off of that item. Though I must agree with you that I have absolutely no clue how large or small the potential market will be like for a “Build your own phone”, I guess that’s up to how innovative and simplistic of a process Google has in mind.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:23 2

6. Fuego84 (Posts: 281; Member since: 13 May 2012)


Build your own smartphone with replaceable, upgradable parts but hope it works out. If the processor can be swappable as well I'm interested.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:27 4

12. sriuslywtf (Posts: 249; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


Me too... Hopefully the Battery are expandable to a higher "mah"..

And hopefully, Intel, Qualcomm, and all chip makers agrees with this concept. Otherwise its doomed to fail.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:34 1

18. Scott93274 (Posts: 1168; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


I would imagine that it would be, along with additional/faster memory, storage capacity, battery size, maybe even have something like infrared blasters as additional options now that Android has support for that hardware built into Kit-Kat. Of course the $50 price tag would be the bare minimum to run the current OS, so getting the top of the line hardware into your device would cost you maybe upwards of $400+. But for those who always have to have the best, they can always switch out a single component to get the next best processor instead of buying them a whole new phone thus saving them lots of money over time.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:26 1

8. fireblade (Posts: 708; Member since: 27 Dec 2013)


Cool. Will it easily break apart? looks like it needs additional case.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:46 1

21. Scott93274 (Posts: 1168; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


Agreed, but I'm cool with cases... though I think that may just be a concept illustration, and not the actual product.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:27 3

9. Tuxedo (Posts: 148; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)


I hope they can pull this off.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:32 2

15. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1047; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


No thanks I'll pass. I like my phones solid and in one piece. I have a hard enough time keeping up with it as is.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:37

19. shamatuu (Posts: 143; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


50 bucks for a idea that may/may not work at launch or years when it anything could go wrong at any given time? really. if it was 30 or 20 than makes sense but 50 what a joke, Why give money when its not even close to launch and no reviews from sites and not sold yet. No confidence at all guys. LAME!.

posted on 26 Feb 2014, 23:43

20. Scott93274 (Posts: 1168; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


Interesting concept, seeing as the owner is in fact the manufacturer of the phone… (or assembler), would this mean that we would no longer have to wait for OS updates (Would we get them the same time as Google distributes them to OEMs?) I’m thinking that these phones will always have the newest Android before Samsung, Sony, LG, Motorola… In addition to that, is this idea succeeds, then I think people would force service providers like at&t and Verizon to cut prices or find some other incentives to keep people on their network because a modular phone that could be updated at any time by the owner would make it so they would no longer have to worry about getting a subsidized phone and locked into a two year contract just to get the next best thing...

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 01:10

36. skyline88 (Posts: 324; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)


add my own choice of processor, own choice of which Android version, how much RAM, high capacity battery, own choice of casing colors and materials.

just WOW !!!

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 06:31 1

40. AfterShock (Posts: 2812; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


This could slow the landfill of used handsets.
It is, win.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 07:58 1

43. jroc74 (Posts: 4926; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


The guy posted quite a few times so I will respond here.

Commentator....as far as who its marketed to and if its wise to go this route or if it will be a success....remember PC's dont have to be totally built by a customer. Changing the RAM, video card, hard drive, disc drive is really simple for just about anyone to do. Only real iffy parts are the cpu, mobo, cpu cooler....case maybe. (just for the fact you need the case to match/fit the mobo size and whatnot. And a case size could dictate where the power supply, and everything else goes.) I would say power supply is also easy.

This has a chance to really be compared to a PC if it takes off. And it could make buying new phones every X years slow down.....now that I think about it....phone OEM's might not like this....lol. Then again....they could invest in the modular parts more and be fine if this takes off.

I really wanna see where this goes.

posted on 27 Feb 2014, 17:15 1

50. sulre (Posts: 14; Member since: 08 Sep 2013)


I'm really really excited about this, can't wait to see the first model.

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