Project Ara is probably one of the most exciting, revolutionary and ambitious projects that Google is hard on work on. The premise of a modular mobile device which allows for the swapping of specific components almost sounds too good to be true aka a pipe dream. We all know whats it is like to have a mobile device slowly get outdated as time goes by regardless of how well designed or usable the device is. The only solution is to upgrade or buy a new device which more often or not forces us into a carrier specific time bounded contract. Project Ara‘s potential then, is that it allows you to upgrade components of the device without having to pay through the nose for a new device without a contract. In addition, it would also free you from being tied down to a carrier simply because of a specific device thereby giving you to freedom to choose. The project has moved on to its next phrase as Google has announced that it is preparing to ship out dev boards to hardware makers.
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This brings Project Ara one step closer to completion as modules made by organisations can finally be tested on hardware for compatibility issues and or usability thereby helping to further the development of Ara. Furthermore, this could also drive up support of organisations which are on the fence and are unwilling to commit until they are able to see tangible benefits in putting resources into developing modules. As the very nature of Project Ara goes against the idea of conventional mobile devices, this could help swing things in Ara’s favor. As of now, companies need to put in a request for the dev board to be shipped to them. Google has mentioned that the boards will only be shipped late July so for us consumers, this could be a long wait as it shows that Project Ara is now in Alpha hardware testing stage and as simply testing individual modules isn’t good enough for release as the different components have to be able to integrate/communicate well enough for users to utilise an Ara device as easily as a conventional mobile phone.
In conclusion, the advent of Project Ara could very well be history repeating itself. This can be seen in the PC industry in which the geeks or more tech savvy crowd choose to build their own PC, versus the average joe who purchases a branded PC to use. This is based on the assumption that Ara gains sufficient support from both users and companies as there could be fierce opposition from the likes of carriers and mobile device manufacturers to have a greater say in when we choose to buy a new device.