Google Project Ara Is Expected to Produce Cheaper Android Smartphone

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By Judith Aparri | February 28, 2014 8:02 PM EST

The ongoing project of Google's research team is revolutionary. The company is working on a prototype that it hopes to bring to the market soonest. Time reported that Google plans to begin marketing the device next year.

Google revealed that there will an Ara developer conference on April 15 to 16 at the Computer History Museum of Silicon Valley. It hopes to have the finished product after a year.

A modular smartphone

It looks like a costly project but Project Ara's output will be a non-expensive modular smartphone, the most fundamental of which will retail at $50. For that price, the device will have a Wi-Fi connectivity, and users can expand its capabilities by purchasing modules. Thus, users are not settling for cheap devices that cannot be improved. The Ara can be a starter device that can improve in time, and will become high-end when loaded with modules.

The core part of the device will be of endoskeleton that is going to bear Google's brand. It will come in three sizes: for mini handsets, mainstream devices and phablets. The bigger the endoskeleton, the more modules it can squeeze in. The medium version can house about 10 modules.

Freedom for buyers

The modular phone is all about freedom. Users have the freedom to add modules to it and customize the device, depending on the user's needs and taste. Modules are swappable, even when the device is on. For example, one user does not take photos but worry more on power outage. So, he can be fine without a camera module and reserve a space instead for a second battery.

Future concerns

Project Ara will face many challenges over time. There are concerns that need to be addressed. For instance, it is still not clear how will it be certified by FCC when it is a modular device. Project Lead Paul Eremenko however, said that the regulator is also encouraging the project.

Another advantage of a modular phone is its durability and size. To keep it from falling in a purse or pocket when dropped, the front will be secured with latches, while electropermanent magnets are used on the back portion. It will not be too slim, but not too thick either. The handset is also water resistant but not waterproof. 

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