The latest on the details surrounding Google Project Ara suggests that the search giant could have a working prototype device ready to show off this month. We have already seen plenty about Project Ara from behind the scenes footage of the team and what they were working on to what some of the pieces look like, to a full non working dummy device to give us an idea of what the modular smartphone will look like once all put together. The Project Ara device was something that Motorola was working on in the advanced technology division before they were sold off to Lenovo, and even though Motorola is leaving Google, the advanced technology group and the Project Ara device are there to stay.
The modular smartphone project seeks to provide users with a device that they can essentially put together and build themselves, by giving them the choices to build a phone with the hardware and specs that they want, much like building a desktop PC with your choice of screen, processor, motherboard, etc. When a piece needs to be upgraded and swapped out, or if one needs a replacement, you can simply do so by popping off that module and putting a new one in. The modules are easily removable by the consumer as they’re held to the back of the phone by weak electro-permanent magnets that allow the pieces to pop right off.
It might still be some time before we see these in full production and ready to fit into consumers hands, but the hope for Google is to get a $50 WiFi only variant of the device up and running for testing in an area where WiFi hot spots are everywhere. This particular model would presumably be tested in some places like South or Central America where wifi hot spots are extremely common, and would consist of basically the WiFi module itself, the screen, the battery, and a basic processor and memory setup. Keeping the device as minimal as possible would allow Google to test the device at little cost to them, and if things go smoothly we would suspect they would begin to test more powerful and compatible options down the road.