Project Ara

Project Ara Will Come Running A Modified Version Of Android L And Support Hot Swapping Modules

September 29, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

With all the Nexus news floating around and the excitement surrounding the latest and greatest from Motorola, we haven’t really heard much about Project Ara in a while. For those who might still be unaware, Google’s project Ara devices are currently in development and will end up as a customizable device that consumers can essentially build to meet their own suitable taste for specifications. Basically you’ll be able to choose whether you want a small, medium, or large size device, then fill that device up with chosen hardware and specs to end up as a fully fledged smartphone that lives up to the standards of what you’re looking for. Think about how you might build up a custom PC.

Some of the really great things that Google has been testing out is the ability to hotswap pieces of hardware for the Ara device on the fly, made possible by comprising the hardware pieces of the device into little modules that magnetically fasten onto the back of the initial phone base frame. By being able to hot swap the modules, one could simply change out certain hardware specs when they needed to without having to turn off the phone. The latest we’re learning about Project Ara devices is that they will run on a slightly different version of Android L, which is not only awesome that they’ll be on the latest version of software, but the devices will apparently support how swapping of all modules, save for two. Which are the screen, and the processor according to Paul Eremenko who is head of Project Ara.

Now that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to swap out those pieces at all, if you end up wanting to upgrade to a newer and more powerful CPU at some point, that should presumably be possible as you long as you power off the device first. What won’t be possible is the capability to swap out the CPU and screen while the phone is actually turned on and running. With that said, since all other modules will have this capability, that means while the phone is powered up, if you need to swap out a module for the camera to give you better quality shots, you can do so. Having learned all of this Project Ara phones seem  more intriguing now than they ever have, even if we already had a hunch about some of it, just hearing it makes things more true. Not everything will seem feasible to hot swap however, as we’re failing to see how Google and Phonebloks(the team working with Google on Project Ara)will be able to facilitate a hot swap of things like the storage and RAM modules, as pointed out by Android Police, since those are two things that seem essential to the device being capable of powering on and running in the first place. Phonebloks also mentions that replaceable modules will be available on an online store, much like we see with the Play Store and the ‘devices’ section.