Project Ara is something I’m pretty excited about and it’s starting to look like it may be released pretty soon. Project Ara is Google’s modular smartphone that allows users to build their own phone using different jigsaw-like modules each with their own specifications. This will allow users to constantly upgrade and build upon their device so they’re never behind with the times for too long.
Earlier this week Google released the Module Development Kit for manufacturers to start building and creating their own modules whether it’s for a display, processor, GPU, camera, or WiFi. Google are also looking for more unconventional modules to be created from some third party developers.
It all begins with an “endoskeleton” which comes in three forms, a Mini, a Medium, and a Large each with its own unique spine and rib combination (the holes that hold each module).
In amongst the MDK, Google has included some guidelines for more commonly used modules, such as processors and cameras, that they expect manufacturers to adhere to. One of the guidelines is how far the modules can stick out from the device (with the requirement for cameras being a little more lenient). Google also revealed other common modules such as batteries, Wi-Fi, chargers, displays, and speakers. As for the more unconventional modules Google hasn’t supplied any specific guidelines for those.
Overall Google want the device, once complete, to have a “smooth, flat, pebble form,” something which is evident from the various devices we have seen.
As for a release date Google have revealed that they’d hope to have the first Ara devices on sale during the first quarter of 2015, whether that manifests into something more than a ‘hope’ depends on whether enough third party manufacturers hop on board. Though with the MDK released this early it looks highly likely.
At the moment the MDK is in its very early stages but Google promise to constantly release alpha and eventually beta MDK releases, for now however it should be enough for manufacturers to get an idea of where to begin.