Project Ara is the codename
for an initiative by Google that aims to develop a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones.
Ara is about opening hardware
in the same way Android has opened software – put it in the hands of the many as opposed to the grip of a few. The goals is to democratize the hardware ecosystem, break it wide open, basically disintermediate the OEMs.
Ara phones are built using
modules inserted into metal endoskeletal frames known as “Endos". It acts as the switch to the on-device network linking all the modules together.
Modules can be anything like
a display, processor, keyboard, battery, camera, gamepad, etc. Modules can be built by any developer using the open source MDK (Module Developers Kit) which is already available.
Ara phones will use Electropermanent
magnets to hold all the modules in place. The modules will use Capacitive Interconnect pads instead of pins as a communication channel. A new communication standard called UniPro will be utilized by modules which provides 10 gigabits of throughput to most modules from the on-device network with a couple- microsecond latency.
Project Ara is working with
3D Systems to develop a new kind of 3D printer that's capable of mass producing custom shells (the plastic pieces on the back of each module).
Advantages of Ara phones: •
Phones is very cheap. • You only buy the features that you want. • Your phone could last indefinitely. • Repairs are easier and cheaper. • You could have two versions of your phone.
Disadvantages of Ara phones: •
It will be bigger and heavier than a standard phone. • The connectors are bound to cause problems. • Certain combinations won’t work. • It won’t be optimized. • How many combinations can there really be?
The first model of the
modular phone “Grey Phone” is scheduled to be released in January 2015. The first model will cost around $50.