Google ditches Project Ara's modular smartphones

But it may revive the devices through licensing deals

Google has abandoned its modular smartphone initiative, Project Ara, it has been claimed.

The tech giant took the decision as part of a move to unify its various hardware plans, according to Reuters, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

The modular smartphone was meant to allow users to swap hardware chunks in and out of their phone, making it customisable.

For instance, they could change the battery or add a better camera to a skeleton frame sold by Google.

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Now it seems that the Google's plans have changed, however, following former Motorola president Rick Osterloh's return to oversee the company's attempts to unify its hardware efforts, which range from Nexus phones to Chromebooks.

"Project Ara was a fascinating concept but I would've been surprised if it had taken off commercially," IDC's VP of devices research, Bryan Ma, told PC World. "Smartphones by nature of their small sizes demand very tight integration."

Had Google pushed ahead with Ara, it would have marked a distinct departure from the trend of yearly smartphone releases led by the likes of Apple and Samsung.

While the devices would have reduced electronic waste, their interchangeable parts would make them costly to produce, TECHnalysis Research analyst Bob O'Donnell told Reuters.

Google had planned to test the device in Puerto Rico last year, but delayed those plans as it reevaluated Ara, though at the time it claimed the delay was due to "lots of iterations... more than we thought".

However, Reuters said Google may still release the device through licensing deals with partners.

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Google declined to comment, however IT Pro understands Reuters' report is accurate.

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