Google's Project Ara opens to developers, the developer's kit for the modular phone is also released

Google's Project Ara opens to developers, the developer's kit for the modular phone is also released
Chances are that you have already heard about one of Google's most curious projects, Ara. Its aim is to develop a phone that consists of an endoskeleton and interchangeable hardware modules. Just the other day we passed on the information that the researchers at Project Ara will most probably have a working prototype of the intriguing device as soon as the next month. What's more, the team behind Project Ara today released the first Module Developers Kit (MDK), which gives us further insight into the technical components of the modular smartphone. It was also announced that the first Project Ara developers' conference will take place next week.

According to the freshly-released MDK, the endoskeleton of the modular device is nicknamed “endo” and comes in 3 different sizes. The largest one (which will be released sometime in the future) will sport a 4x7 parceled grid, whereas the medium-sized endo will have 3x6 grids in tow. The smallest endoskeleton will come with a 2x5 grid. It is also stated that each endo will have a single spine with multiple ribs coming out of it. These ribs will provide structural support for the blocks.

Due to some limitations to the mainframe, the maximum size of a rear module for the Ara phone will be 2x2 grids. Some very small 1x1 modules won't fit on the largest endo, whereas the biggest 2x2 blocks won't be compatible with the smallest Ara mainframe. The 1x2 modules will be available across the three variants and Google states that they can be inserted either vertically or horizontally on the endo.

The locking mechanism for the front modules has also been revealed. They will rely on a prototype ball-spring plunger.

It also becomes clear that Ara users will be able to make use of one or more batteries simultaneously and – everyone, rejoice! – even “swap a depleted battery with a fresh one without powering off their phone”. As if this is not enough, it is also stated that all module batteries can be charged while being snapped onto Ara's endo at the same time, as well. Well, how cool is that!

The team hopes to create a complete MDK guide for module manufacturers by the end of 2014. We can only hope that a fully-working Project Ara device will be released shortly after.


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23 Comments

1. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

I love this! Might get one! Thank you google :)

15. rihel_95

Posts: 305; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

Its only because of Google and Phoneblocs, I am seeing so much development in so little time

2. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Google has the future in mind. This is outstanding work, Project Ara. Too bad Nokia wasn't on board now instead of later.

8. boblight

Posts: 84; Member since: Jul 28, 2012

Come on. This article has nothing to do with Nokia or whatsoever. So lay off the bashing and enjoy some glimpse into the future.

11. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Grab a brain, wanting them included is the opposite of bashing!

14. brrunopt

Posts: 742; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Project Ara was not created by google, is a creation from Phonebooks and a Motorola project..

17. hurrycanger

Posts: 1761; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Phonebloks.

16. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

it wasnt google who started the project though, but nonetheless they saw the potential and kept with it.

3. Cyan3boN

Posts: 446; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

Looks promising, hope the device stays thin after fitting all the modules. It also reminds me of the Razer prototype, "project christine".

4. marlboro

Posts: 94; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

DROP TEST??? LOL

5. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Hopefully it wont be similar to 52 Card Pick Up or pour a box of lego on the floor

7. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

If its in pieces chances is that I could put it back or replace only the damaged parts much like my diy custom PC.

23. vincelongman

Posts: 5691; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I love building PCs, so nice not having to compromise like on consoles Can't wait to do so on phones

9. dbdrummer88

Posts: 29; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Something I have been wondering about is how the built in or onboard memory works. Is it in the endo? Or is it a 1x1 module? I think it would be awesome to put some pieces together to make the smaller phone when you are on the go or traveling, and having the medium or bigger phone when at home. I will definitely be getting this right when it comes out!

12. marlboro

Posts: 94; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

autobots??? TRANSFORM!!! haha!

10. dbdrummer88

Posts: 29; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Also, this is a good move to get the MDK out a few days before their conference. This should hopefully give the manufactures and companies time to look at it and become more knowledgeable about the setup and everything else. They then should be able to ask tougher questions to google when they get together.

13. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

I'm loving the Mini, but I'm curious as to the SIM placement. Would it go in the endo or a module?

24. PeterK.

Posts: 314; Member since: Nov 13, 2013

Probably there would be a dedicated module, so users can choose not to benefit from celullar service or data and use Wi-Fi instead.

18. serrano989

Posts: 39; Member since: Apr 02, 2012

I hope they make a case or bumper of some sort. If that thing hits the ground hard, those blocks will shoot everywhere.

19. garyII

Posts: 160; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

medium will be perfect ! but really do hope that the camera can be much slimmer despite realizing the difficulty of putting a compact circuit inside a small casing module...

20. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

lol 21:9 smartphone (5th picture, labeled 'A')

21. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

Nice concept. But, first make a modular laptop first. Today's laptops suck because we can't upgrade the CPU, only change the RAM & HDD.

22. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Just hope GOOGLE will launch this by year end and have a price tag. this is simply awesome. building your own phone instead of happened to buy a another one

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