Google announced that I will launch a modular smartphone platform in early 2015 that lets users pick and change out hardware components as they do with software apps presently. Google says this plan – Project Ara – is meant to revolutionize the smartphone market. A Google statement reads:
“The smartphone is one of the most empowering and intimate objects in our lives, yet most of us have little say in how the device is made, what it does, and how it looks. And 5 billion of us don’t have one. What if you could make thoughtful choices about exactly what your phone does, and use it as a creative canvas to tell your own story?”
This news was announced at the first-ever Ara Developer Conference being held this week just outside of San Francisco in Mountain View, California. At the conference, Google released their “alpha version” of the Ara Module Developers Kit (MDK) which is an open platform reference spec containing everything you need to develop Ara modules. The modules fit into a Ara exoskeleton when in turn fit together to form a fully functional customized smartphone. The Ara smartphone devices are expected to last 5-6 year and cost consumers $50. Google is planning to release various Ara pre-release updates in 2014 with prototypes expected in the Fall.