Project Ara

The United States Military Wants To Enlist Project Ara

August 19, 2014 - Written By Phil Bourget

Everyone knows of or about Project Ara, Google’s latest project.  The project comes to us from Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects division, kept from the Motorola sale to Lenovo a few months back.  Let’s recap Ara though, since it’s been a bit since the project’s last headlining. Project Ara is an effort by Google’s ATAP division to make a smartphone, a modular smartphone, for ultimate choice and possibility.  What that means is the parts, the processor, cameras, battery, screen, and other parts would be contained in separate parts, called modules, and fit in a jigsaw kind of manner onto and into a main board with slots for a set amount of modules, based on the size of the board and device.  You as the owner could buy modules to upgrade and change specific modules and therefore functions differently.

Project Ara is now of interest to the military.  That might sound terrible, like the military wants to own and manipulate the project, but that’s not it.  The military is interested in getting the Ara smartphone(s) into the hands of their men and women in the field, so they can have any parts of a smartphone they want and only the ones they need.  How great would it be to have a military smartphone that can be customized to be large in the battery department and come with an efficient screen size so the thing lasts for days on one charge, then can be changed to have a nice camera to let soldiers remember the moments at base camp with comrades.

That’s the interesting part though, the customization.  You would need to be able to pull a module off and get another one plugged in quick, while the device is still powered on.  And that is currently ATAP’s biggest hurdle.  Every module, not just the camera, speakers, and screen, apparently needs to have the ability to be hot-swappable and interchangeable whenever, even when the device is powered on.  Now, some of the parts, like the battery specifically, might not have this capability since it is needed to power the device, and the processor/RAM may have issues, since they too are needed for the phone to function at all. The issues surrounding Project Ara are many and prominent, especially since the expected release date is sometime in 2015, but knowing Google, there will be delays and there will be new, unseen problems, and the ATAP division and Google will have to accommodate that.  Time is the only thing that will accurately show and tell how Project Ara will develop and eventually be, so sit tight folks.