Project Ara's modules will be hot-swappable

Project Ara's modules will be hot-swappable
The Project Ara modular phone is becoming more and more interesting. While the news that the battery will be hot swappable certainly was good for power users who cringe at the thought of booting up after each battery swap, this capability goes even further. Project Ara director Paul Eremenko announced during a recent speech that besides the battery, the modules themselves will be hot swappable except for the CPU and the display.

You might find yourself in the middle of taking a picture when you realize that a better camera is needed for this job. So out snaps the camera module on your phone and in snaps the new one. No need to shut down the phone. No fuss, no muss.

During his speech, Eremenko also revealed that modules will be available from an online store, similar to the Google Play Store. The first Project Ara phone will be powered by a modified version of Android L. It's all shaping up to be a fascinating idea, although at this point most smartphone users are probably happy just to keep the status quo for now, anyway.



source: Linaro, PHONEBLOKS via Engadget

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52 Comments

1. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Except for CPU? Daaammmnnn!!!

5. Obie-Wan

Posts: 112; Member since: May 24, 2012

Well, sure the CPU will not be hot-swappable. If it was, the phone gonna hang probably or they need somekind of a secondary CPU for that phone.

10. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

You live in a cave right? Of course it is not hot swappable. It's like pulling a gameboy cartridge while playing. Youll gonna do serious damage to the device. The same with the display. Turn the device off, change modules, then on again.

13. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Lolwut? I never said remove it while it's on. And its written nowhere that CPU module is swapable, whether its on or off.

21. tasior

Posts: 265; Member since: Nov 04, 2012

Hot swappable means, that You can swap when device is on...

22. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

That's what hot-swappable means - it can be swapped while the device is running.

29. duartix

Posts: 311; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

Actually I find the display not being hot swappable the strangest limitation. You can hot swap displays on Windows PCs and Laptops for over a decade. But I can live with that.

32. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

This is a lil different tho. As in you use the screen to interact with the device. PS/2 connected mice and keyboards arent hot swappable on PC's. And I think thats the only add ons that you need to reboot to use on PC's using those type of connectors. I agree with your post overall tho.

51. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

I really thought he was being sarcastic, in a good way

2. Luuthian

Posts: 332; Member since: Sep 09, 2011

I think this'll go through at least 2-3 generations of devices before it becomes mainstream... if it does at all. The real problem here is the same one everyone else keeps repeating: getting the carriers and OEM's to promote the tech.

4. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

That's a very serious problem they'll have to overcome. OEM's and carriers are the ones to lose with Ara, no more buying a new phone every year (For those that do), no more 2 year contracts. A new module comes out that you like, buy it. That easy... Can't wait to see the progress of the Ara phone!!!

26. vincelongman

Posts: 5691; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I don't really think Ara will become mainstream Since mainstream consumers arent "tech smart" E.g. self built PCs have been around for years, but most people still buy prebuilts or consoles But on the other hand Ara looks much simpler than building a PC and most people buy laptops for portability or consoles for exclusives So maybe Ara might have a better chance But I have a feeling carriers and OEMs might try stop Ara since it could potentially destroy Android phone sales

34. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I was thinking about this same thing last night when I read this somewhere else. But I don't think it's so much like building a homebuilt PC, but more like building a PC online through Dell or Toshiba. I mean we're not talking about inserting something into a 30-pin connector and making sure the notch is pointing this way when you do it or anything. This is basically like Lego's, and I think when people see how nice it could be to only upgrade modules instead of the entire device, or to change how the device runs on the fly (swap from boomsound speakers to a 20mp ois camera to take some pictures), they'll really see the benefits.

38. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I agree and disagree with you. As I've built my last three computers I know full well of the complexity of finding the right RAM, motherboard, case, processor, power supple, SSD to make everything work as it should without bottlenecks. I also know that your typical consumer knows nothing about that type of configuration. That being said Project Ara is not like building a computer, it's more like accessorizing it... Want a better camera? Buy this module. Want more storage capacity? Buy this module. Want a blood-sugar level tester? buy this module. Need more battery life, buy an extra module. The part where I do agree with you though is that consumers may still be intimidated by the concept if not educated in its simplicity, functionality, and benefits. Regardless, I'll be getting one myself and I look forward seeing the impact this has on the mobile industry.

48. vincelongman

Posts: 5691; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yea like I said Ara is defiantly much simpler than building a PC But to be fair being a PC is quite simple too, if you dont over think it too much For ram just buy the cheapest 8GB DDR3 (any decent brand, ram specs aren't that important, real world performance differences are very minimal, unless if you have an APU, then you want faster ram) For motherboard just buy the cheapest one that has the features you want (just make sure its the right socket for your CPU) For case just buy whatever you like the look of, or the cheapest For power supply just get the cheapest gold rated from a reliable brand, 400-500W for 1 GPU, 700W for 2 GPUs For CPU/GPU just look up reviews, buy what currently offers the best price vs performance Bottlenecks aren't much of a problem, unless I you do something silly like buying a $50 CPU and par it with a $3000 GPU (or maybe if you are upgrading an old build) For Project Ara it will similar, there will still people who find it complex, people will still argue over which is the best config Building Ara is easier than Lego, building a PC is much harder than Ara, more like Meccano

30. duartix

Posts: 311; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

I'm seeing beyond upgradeability, I see a lot of potential buyers that will buy the equivalent of two smartphones because they'll want one big configuration for media content consumption (while at their couches) and another slim one for portability while they are on the move (beach, jogging, etc).

36. PryvateiDz

Posts: 443; Member since: Jul 31, 2011

But in this day and age there are many non-contract carriers and options to buy phones off contract. Even AT&T offers off-contract (just went there with my grandma yesterday) via AT&T Next. T-Mobile is no contract where you can bring your own phone. Then you have MNVO's and or the-like, like Cricket Wireless, Ting, Straight Talk, Go Phone, etc. So, I don't see the problem. I mean there's the Nexus line and the Moto X line who have sold really well and are unlocked and off-contract. I don't think like the person beneath me said, I don't think it will become mainstream or is meant to be mainstream. Mainstream for the techies, sure. But not for the average Joe that just want the simplicity of buying the phone the way it is and not having to worry about anything else.

9. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Well it will be beneficial for us consumers, but if Ara becomes truly mainstream, OEMs will start losing money.

11. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

OEMs will still manufacture the modules. Who will be manufacturing the modules then? Ara is a WIN-WIN sitch between Google and OEMs.

14. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Dumb comment. The modules will never be as profitable as selling a full smartphone.

17. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Its the same with SLRs. Nikon or Canon would stop by now if their lenses won't sell. SLRs are modular by design too. PCs too. People would still buy from branded OEMs, it will not sell as good as smartphones but it will sell. Sony's XTRUD is still a concept, but they were there before ARA and they know that modular phones will be the next big thing.

23. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

But I must agree with (onte time) with StraightEdgeNexus: selling the parts not so profitable for OEMs. To me the ARA project is like building destops: something for a minority nowadays and with a lot less market. Not because it won't benefit the user but because it won't benefit as much to the OEMs, so they will be unwilling to get on board.

19. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

But project Ara will never replace all Android smartphones. And not that many Smartphones makes make a lot of money anyway.

3. pokharkarsaga

Posts: 550; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

Great to have Linaro team for project ara.These guys are masters in optimizing Android compared to Android team.

6. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

It's about damn time we had some news about Ara. It would be goddamn awesome if they were to sign on major OEMs to offer their unique touches; for instance, if they could get Motorola to offer the tech and software necessary for Moto Voice and Moto Display.

39. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Sony with their cameras, Samsung with their displays... Really though, I am a but concerned with the processor providers.

7. nlbates66

Posts: 328; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

"So out snaps the camera module on your phone and in snaps the new one." if you're actually snapping photo's and decide you need to swap camera modules and happen to not be using your best camera module that's kinda a failure in your choice of modules at purchase time :-) tbh the only practical usefulness hot swappable modules serves would be for battery module swapping or for trying out modules before buying, I can think of no good reason what so ever i'd want to swap modules around out in the field, should only ever really be needing to swap them around if you happen to have just bought a new module.

20. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Could be camera modules with different lenses to have optical zoom, better camera for low light. Or you could be just walking around, stumble into something you think is beautiful and click on the better camera that normally protrudes way too much to keep your phone in your pocket.

25. KillgoreTroutTime

Posts: 433; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

So you would walk around with random phone parts in your pockets for these scenarios? Anyone that picky about photography is going to be using an actual camera for pictures that they want to get perfect. I think it is beyond foolish to be walking around all day with a bunch of random phone parts in your pants for "just in case" moments.

28. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

They don't need to be in your pants, they could be in the glovecompartment, your jacket, purses, backpacks and so on.

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