Google's Ara modular smartphone won't be as customisable

You won't be able to change the display or processor, but this means modules can be swapped without rebooting

Google has announced its modular smartphone won't be as changeable as everyone first thought, because it thinks it's more important to offer customers unique functionality rather than the ability to change the screen and processor.

It means those parts will be fixed into the chassis of the device, which allows Google to make the smartphone thinner and also means users will be able to swap modules without restarting it.

"We've integrated the phone technology in the frame," Ara's lead engineer Rafa Camargo told attendees of Google IO in California. "That frees up space for modules that will create and integrate new functionality that you cannot get on your smartphone today."

Modules now offered in the device include more wearables-style features including a glucometer for people with diabetes, a high-resolution speaker, expandable storage or a second e-paper display, for example.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

However, critics think this means it's less of a business risk for Google, meaning the company will hopefully sell more units when it goes on sale.

"A fully modular smartphone would have gone against every trend in the industry to integrate components tightly together and make smaller, faster devices as a result," said Ian Fogg, from the consultancy IHS Technology told the BBC.

"By putting the front display, the processors and some of the core functionality into the frame's board, rather than on removable modules, it has significantly de-risked the project. That may not offer as much flexibility to users as the original plan, but it makes it easier for Google to bring Project Ara to market quickly."

The original Ara smartphone, which was announced in October 2013 allowed customers to swap out up to six different components. However, the project was cancelled in August 2015, when Google announced new leadership of the project.

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/cloud/cloud-computing/354479/google-adds-partners-to-real-time-translation-tools
cloud computing

Google adds partners to real-time translation tools

8 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/354336/the-it-pro-products-of-the-year-2019-all-the-years-best-hardware
Hardware

The IT Pro Products of the Year 2019: All the year’s best hardware

24 Dec 2019
Visit/marketing-comms/search-engine-optimization-seo/354339/google-is-getting-worse-as-it-does-more
search engine optimization (SEO)

Google is getting worse as it does more

21 Dec 2019
Visit/cloud/354231/the-it-pro-podcast-is-the-future-multi-cloud
Cloud

The IT Pro Podcast: Is the future multi-cloud?

29 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354533/dell-xps-13-new-9300-hands-on-review-chasing-perfection
Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020
Visit/web-browser/30394/what-is-http-error-503-and-how-do-you-fix-it
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020