Project Ara: An Examination of Google’s Upcoming Modular Smartphone
Google has long been one of the top innovators of the internet and technology. From the most popular search engine on the planet to the impending release of the much-hyped Google Glass, Google has shown itself time and again to be one of the leaders in terms of new hardware and software alike.
As a result, Google’s recent announcement that they would be producing the world’s first modular smartphone was met with much clamor and fanfare. Not only does the design sound like a winner, the fact that Google is behind it makes the finished product one that many are looking forward to.
What Is a Modular Smartphone?
Smartphones available today are static, with it being virtually impossible for the average person to make any kinds of hardware changes or repairs to them. A modular smartphone would include a frame that would hold the different components of the device, as well as different pieces that perform different functions. End users could easily swap out parts if they become broken or better ones become available.
As opposed to a finished product, Google’s Project Ara is aimed at creating a platform for other hardware manufacturers to produce modules for. This approach is similar to how things have gone with Android, with Google creating an open-source platform that has allowed app developers to produce their own products in tandem with it.
The advantages to having a modular platform, as opposed to today’s all-inclusive devices, are legion. First, prices for the base model are projected to be low, starting at around $50. Price also comes into play in a big way in terms of replacing individual components. Today’s model would require the purchase of a new device, while a modular platform allows replacement on an as-needed basis.
Electronic waste exists due to the ever-present fact that the deice you use today is bound to be obsolete tomorrow. Existing devices make you replace them in their entirety if they break or you want a new one. With modules, the individual piece in question can be swapped out, potentially reducing the amount of electronic waste generated by an order of magnitude.
Would you be interested in a modular smartphone? Let us know in the Comments section below!