What do you make of Google's modular phone project Ara?


Google's Project Ara might be inherited from Motorola, but the folks at Mountain View are noticing the huge potential in a modular phone concept, and are working hard to master the prototypes, wooing developers in the meantime. 

The premise is very simple, yet quite hard to execute right - you get a barebones chassis, and add components to your liking, until you get a customized handset, tailored to your specific needs. There will be screen sizes and resolutions to choose from, different processors, battery capacities, and even camera modules. That's one of the biggest ideas around Ara, too - Google plans to launch a hub where you can buy modules, much like the Play Store, but for hardware bits, and with an open model of enrolling. This should be a boon for manufacturers big and small, but also for developers who can squeeze innovative uses out of off-the-shelf Ara component combos. 

Who knows what the braniacs from Google might come up with until next year, when Project Ara is expected to land for retail presence. That's why we wanted to ask you if this modular phone concept is something you consider ready for take-off, or do you think it is too hard to master, and will remain one of Google's pet projects? Take your pick, and chime in the comments.

What do you make of Google's modular phone project Ara?

It's the future, I can finally cook my own smartphone, and, coming from Google, I expect value for the money, too!
51.55%
Sounds promising, so I'll wait and see what are the modules on offer, and then decide on Project Ara.
39.39%
Modular electronics have been tried before with limited success, nothing beats a uniform handset, tested thoroughly by a major manufacturer.
9.06%

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57 Comments

1. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Myself, I'm all for it.

18. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Diddy. Make your own phone without paying 600-700$ on a phone.

20. AppleHateBoy unregistered

It will save the trouble of buying a new phone every year. You can just buy the latest SoC every year. It also helps minimize waste. It makes repairing super easy. There are a lot of advantages and that's why I am excited.

27. dbdrummer88

Posts: 29; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Same here! I expect the initial investment of getting all the parts you want may be around $400-$500 depending on how many high end parts you get. Either way, this phone will allow you to have the best at any moment, and be cheaper than everything else. It's a win-win!

32. sgodsell

Posts: 7369; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

There is nothing stopping project Ara from making even larger endo-skeletons. Like a tablet size or two.

52. lallolu

Posts: 732; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

And I am assuming it will be runnin stock android. Except if they make it possible to choose ROM to install. This is going to be really interesting.

33. ILikeBubbles

Posts: 525; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

although depending on module price i'll probably end up spending about that anyway :p

40. bbblader

Posts: 590; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

Even if you buy it first by the price of a normal flagship,you'll need to buy it once no less than every 3 years,just with changing the parts you need once at a time.That is actually the same as buying a high end phone every 3 years,but doing that over time will be an advantage over anything else

47. Tommy1960i

Posts: 144; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

This is good for customers but not for companies. I think in general this is not the best idea from an economic point.

46. Tommy1960i

Posts: 144; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

I am worried about sowftware integration and gaming performance for a smartphone like that. iOS apps are very nice and have a much bigger quality than Android ones because as we know at Apple software and hardware are very nice integrated.

41. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Yup.. And I'm glad the last choice got the least votes. Just in the PC market....the last choice only applies to Apple. There are very, very few OEM's that build decent PC's. PC's... its really good to go the custom route. Either you build it or have a company do it for you.

44. vincelongman

Posts: 5695; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Agreed, There is TOTALLY NO OEM that makes good gaming PCs for good prices

53. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

my fault i meant DIDDO stupid auto keyboard.

2. bodzio1809

Posts: 407; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

The main disadvantage of this idea is that some components don't need as much space as one block and can waste space.

8. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

The phone will be somewhat bulkier. However, this phone isn't going to be an popular phone like iPhone, S5, M8, or Z2. It'll be for selected group of people who loves the freedom of changing the spec to their needs. Look at some custom computer, the case is just huge!! Mine is 2.5 feet tall and that beast is just sexy sitting in my office :P

11. bodzio1809

Posts: 407; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

The idea is great. Everything depends on how they will do it. I just imagine getting good looking phone with onscreen buttons, amoled display and two front speakers :)

36. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

SEXY :D

48. azers07

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 17, 2013

Blackbsung M8 =)

12. phljcnth

Posts: 556; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Of course blocks of the same use shall be created from a single mold regardless of its capacity or variant. The main issue must be about keeping the phone firmly together without having to put on a case or band and not compromising the ease of swapping. I am also interested about how the software is going to adjust to any abrupt user modification. This is why I think Samsung is catering much more options than what a consumer can think of. Different sizes, specs, colors, you name it.

15. bodzio1809

Posts: 407; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

Yes, but there is still no Samsung phone that I would really want :) And I think that many of people think that way. S5 is great phone, but I would change many things in it. I made my vision of how S5 should look like:https://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1140x1075q90/836/903e.jpg I don't need metal. I would prefer matte plastic finish on the back without this (in my opinion) ugly dots.

30. sgodsell

Posts: 7369; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The nice thing about Samsung phones is there are a ton of third party backs and cases for phones.

37. bodzio1809

Posts: 407; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

Yes you can get even metal back cover :)

21. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

I the disadvantage of phones available now is that they focus on slimness instead of the features that I really want.

24. bodzio1809

Posts: 407; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

Agree. Also I would like to have bigger choice, not only 5+ inch screen flagships.

34. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

What about multiple components in one block?

38. bodzio1809

Posts: 407; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

I hope that it will be possible. I saw modules with only one block on front. So that probably mean that you can get block with screen, camera, speaker etc.

57. JonBjSig

Posts: 176; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

I'm guessing there will be group blocks. A block for all your sensors for example.

3. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

it is the future of smartphones....

4. bigv6691

Posts: 10; Member since: Jan 08, 2014

I'm excited about this project, only thing I do hope happens is you can download any os available. Like Firefox, Ubuntu touch, and maybe even windows 8. That would be pretty awesome.

5. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

With Google behind it, that'll never happen XD

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