If you have been following any news over the last year, then you would have heard of Google’s Project Ara. For those who missed it, in short Ara is a modular smartphone which allows plug and play of modules (features). Well, the more recent news was that Google would be holding a developer conference on January 14th to further update the developing community (and the rest of us) on the progress of Ara. Well, if you have not checked the calendar yet, it is January 14th and that means it is Ara day. At the conference, it was expected the Project Ara team would unveil their next generation prototype in the form of Spiral 2 and that is exactly what has happened today.
Google has in fact officially unveiled the latest Project Ara prototype and with it, announced a few more details. One of those details is that Spiral 2 officially includes support for 3G calling over networks. 4G LTE is planned but won’t be included until later. Not to mention Google also confirmed that Spiral 2 offers the ability to hotswap modules. It was also revealed that modules will be activated and deactivated using electromagnetic charges and as such users won’t have to pull out the modules to deactivate them. In terms of the other features, we were made privy to, Spiral 2 will come with a display with a 1280 x 720 resolution. Inside the device will come with a 5MP camera, WiFi. Not to mention more confirmation (as we have already heard) that Ara will be compatible with multiple different processors from the likes of Rockchip, Nvidia and Marvell. Spiral 2 will also come with sensors for light and proximity. There will also be a dedicated block (module) which will be used as the USB charger port.
In terms of what is next, Spiral 2 is reported to be launching in the second quarter of this year. This will be followed by a market pilot (which we heard earlier will take place in Puerto Rico) and followed again by the official launch. As you would expect, exact dates were not provided. Interestingly, it was also noted that Spiral 3 (the next gen) will also come with the ability to hot swap batteries while the device is still switched on.