First Project Ara smartphone could see commercial release in Q1, 2015: Report

Project AraRemember Project Ara, the open-source modular smartphone hardware platform, looks like, we might see the first commercial device from the project in Q1 of 2015.  According to a report in Time, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group ((ATAP), was earlier with Motorola) is just a few weeks away from a functioning prototype and is aiming for early 2015 release of the first commercial version.

The ARA team is working on three phone sizes – mini (basic), medium (mainstream) and jumbo (phablet-style) – determined by the size of its endoskeleton, or endo, which is going to house all the components.  According to Time, the endo will be Google-branded, while rest of the components can come from any third-party manufacturer, given they support the necessary standards.

“The endo is an aluminum frame that contains a bit of networking circuitry so the modules can talk to each other, a tiny back-up battery and not much else. Everything from the screen to the processor to the battery is provided in the form of a module — the medium-sized endo has space for ten of them — which you slide into place to form a phone. In the first prototype, the modules use retractable pins to connect to the endo’s network; later this year, Google plans to replace that approach with more space-efficient capacitive connections,” Harry McCracken of Time noted in the report.

Project AraTime’s report also adds that Google is working to make the modules hot-swappable, so users won’t need to power off the device. Suppose, you need more battery backup as your existing battery in the phone is going to die, you can swap the camera module (if you don’t need that for the time-being) with a secondary battery and get the necessary power.

Google is reportedly looking to sell the Ara phones in various ways, including a so-called GrayPhone, which will be a $50 barebones version. This phone will come with an app, which will help consumers order additional modules for the device. It will be sold at convenience stores.

Other mode of selling ARA phones will be via mobile kiosks, where consumers will be able to assemble their desired smartphone.

Google will initially be releasing Ara phone in a geographical area rather than a global roll-out. So, those outside US should not expect to get their hands on a modular smartphone any time soon.

Source: Time (Must Read for modular smartphone enthusiasts)


Post Author: Gaurav Shukla

Gaurav Shukla is the editor of AndroidOS.in. If you'd like to reach him, drop an email at 'gaurav@androidos.in' or connect with him on Twitter (@gauravshukla).

2 thoughts on “First Project Ara smartphone could see commercial release in Q1, 2015: Report

    View From The Top

    (March 1, 2014 - 11:47 am)

    As somebody who builds his own computers, I’ve always wanted to be able to build my own smartphone. Don’t think it will be as easy as building a PC at home, but one can only hope 🙂

    I don’t know if this will be it or for that matter, how much technical expertize will be required, but surely, this will help prevent the planned obsolescence of phones that OEM’s specialize in. Not to mention bringing costs down and giving us exactly what we want. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Being able to install pure android will mean no bloatware or weird laggy UI skin just like self-installed Windows/Linux on my PC.

    Of course, this is all conjecture ATM, but hopefully, we’ll get there sooner than later, God Google willing. One can only dream. 😛

    Harsh Singh

    (February 28, 2014 - 6:41 pm)

    I am surely gonna buy that!!!!

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