Google has announced Project Ara, a fun new way in which you can create the ultimate smartphone by adding various components yourself to customise your handset.
The inspiration behind this new idea came from the search engine giant’s Play Store, and will act as a sort of hardware store in which users can buy and sell Lego-esque hardware ‘modules’ for their Project Ara smartphone.
While there has been no official confirmation of price, it is believed that when the initial handset base is released, which will hopefully be early next year, that it shouldn’t be too expensive. In fact, pcworld.com has suggested that the basic frame will cost $50 (approximately £31).
If the concept sounds a bit confusing, it’s best to think of it in the sense that the phone will begin as an endoskeleton with no processor, screen, battery or basically anything that would suggest it is a smartphone.
You will then be able to buy the separate modules or as part of a kit to then attach them to the endoskeleton and begin to create a complete smartphone. If you decide you want to change anything then you will be able to individually swap cameras, screens and antennas with other users.
To ensure each module fits within the frame, the phone is based on a grid of squares, each measuring 22mm x 22mm, with each piece having a front, which is a large slot for the screen, and a back where most modules will actually be present.
Electro-permanent magnets (EPMs) will be used to connect the modules together.
Interestingly enough, Google’s hardware store will not only just offer modules to add to your smartphone, but also allow users to create their own modules for the device and to sell them directly to other customers. Essentially, offering them the chance to become inventors themselves.
While the pilot trial of the smartphone has yet to take place, it is pretty clear that should Project Ara go ahead, the main selling point will be the fact that it is a swap and collect device.