We have seen some absolutely ground breaking innovations already in the first half of 2016, and 2015 wasn't much short of the mark either. With innovation comes companies playing catchup, and with such catchup games comes over-saturated commercial markets; so with US technology giant Google wanting to push things forward, as they're known to do, Project Ara is essentially a whole new market. Previously announcing a prototype of its modular smartphone Project Ara, Google has recently made the announcement at its Google I/O 2016 annual developer conference that it planned to have a consumer smartphone of Project Ara on sale by 2017.
The Ara smartphone is more than just smart - its modular - and has been designed to have a longer lifespan than every other product on the market by the sheer fact that its hardware and software modules can really easily be changed to suit your needs and updated to the latest versions over time. With third-party designers and companies to contribute modules to the smartphone platform community, and as we can see on the Official Project Ara website, the product is more than impressive.
Found on the Advanced Technology and Projects section of Google's website, Project Ara sits alongside Project Jacquard (a system for weaving technology into fabric, transforming clothes into interactive surfaces), Spotlight Stories (a world of 360° storytelling made uniquely for mobile) and Project Soli (an interaction sensor using radar technology that can track sub-millimeter motions at high speed and accuracy). Google really is pushing the boundaries of technology as we know of them today.
Modules to be made available for the Google smartphone will include all the usual apps and features that we all love and depend upon with current smartphones. With functions varying from recording music, tracking a run, making notes or taking photos, every module will be easily unclippable from the Google phone device and can be easily replaced over time for alternatives should you fancy a change or upgrade. With room for six modules, the power potential of the device is immense, not to mention how the smart phone will be powered by the new Android Greybus software that promises "instantaneous connections, power efficiency and data-transfer rates of up to 11.9Gbps".
The actual Ara smartphone frame will always contain the immovable aspects of the device, from the smartphones' CPU, GPU, antennas, sensors, battery and display, allowing absolutely everything else to be externally developed and curated over time by Google and by third-party developers. With future generations in mind for Google, Project Ara is a massive step in the right direction for better sustainability and towards a 'global compatibility' (Ever wondered why different countries have different plug sockets or how phone manufacturers have different charger sockets to one another? They're all being made consistent too, supposedly...)
Starting life as a design concept by Eindhoven graduate Dave Hakkens, and developed further by Google-owned communications company Motorola, Google really are onto something. SATORI & SCOUT are really looking forward to being part of the "..open marketplace to connect the next generation of ideas with the broader Ara community", as announced by Google. Discover more about the concept and future of smartphones on the Project Ara website.
Photography credit : Atap.google.com/Ara