Since Project Ara became part of Google – by way of Motorola Mobility – in 2013, everyone has been excited about what Project Ara could mean for the future of smartphones. Think about it. This is a modular smartphone, allowing you to replace things like the speaker, cameras, battery and just about everything else. Google has already ran a few pilots – one being in Puerto Rico – and it now looks like we will be getting our hands on the device in 2017 (developers can get it this fall).
The big question about Project Ara has been the modules. How are customers going to get these modules? Who is going to create them? Similar questions to what rose after the LG G5 was announced a few months ago. According to a report out of The Verge, Google is looking to control the ecosystem. And control it a bit more than they have Android. Stating that Project Ara modules will need to be approved by Google, and also have some of Google's code. This way they will be able to talk to the rest of the phone. They are also going to be taking a "small cut" of each module sold for Project Ara. Not too surprising, given that Google does take a cut of just about everything it sells – including ads. Google is planning to build the base for the phone in-house. They also noted that Google will not make the display, processor or RAM swappable, unfortunately. Something that many hard-core users were definitely excited about.
Google will be working with manufacturers to create these third-party modules. Google is also looking into "innovative form factors" and noted that these modules could be used for other electronic devices. Hinting that Project Ara could extend past just smartphones. Meaning that it wouldn't be too surprising to see things like tablets and smartwatches get the Project Ara treatment. Which would definitely make for an interesting market in a few years.
Project Ara has been an exciting project since Phonebloks first posted their YouTube video of their vision in 2013. The idea of being able to swap out modules in a smartphone, without even needing to reboot it, has been very exciting. And we're getting closer and closer to that vision becoming a reality.