You might already know the basis of the Project Ara smartphone, an effort to build and offer a modular smartphone to the consumer that would allow them to fully customize their smartphone from the ground up, including the size of the core endoskeleton that all the little pieces fit into. The modular tiles are such that any person with no technical expertise on how to build a device, can swap out and upgrade the modular tiles when needed for bigger or better parts, whether it be multiple tiles at once or simply one tile that needed the upgrade. This would allow customers to just upgrade the pieces they need or want when the time comes, without having to buy a whole new device. Project Ara still might have a long way to go before it reaches consumers, but it’s coming along nicely as we’ve seen over the past couple of months.
The Project Ara team has a goal to meet, which is to get the Ara smartphone ready for market by sometime early in 2015. Their current step right now remains getting developers involved and getting them interested in producing the modular tiles that would essentially make up the device. The modules themselves would be fitted to a custom designed shell, that would allow for the consumer to have what seems like a near unlimited amount of options to customize the look and feel of their device. The team at Project Ara is working with a company called 3D systems to have these custom shells produced on large scale using a 3D printer. We already saw a handful of different look and styles when Phoneblocks took us behind the scenes to meet the Project Ara team members, and while some of the shells seemed a little bit loud and expressive, others had a more minimal design to them but still just enough uniqueness to call it your own.
When and if the Project Ara smartphone ever makes it into the hands of Google officially to sell to consumers, the Ara phone could certainly change the way we think about smartphones going forward. Consumers would have true choice when it comes to getting a device that they want, in being able to choose not only how big their device is, but also pick out the display, the processor, the memory, the RAM, the camera, and the custom shells for a personalized design and much more. Ara could actually change the face of the smartphone and it’s well on the way, the question is if the consumer will ever get the chance to build such a device.