Google’s Project Ara
Project Ara is Google’s vision to make a truly customisable smartphone. For a while, it was assumed that the idea was rejected by Google’s ATAP division but then, it appeared again at I/O 2016 with a full live demo and is about to be launched. The only difference is that there would be some major changes from the first announcement with the original spirit remaining. The concept to allow users to change any part of the device has now been curtailed. It means you won’t be able to change its built-in-battery, processor, antenna, radios, non-removable display and the memory components to intensify its performance. The exoskeleton is already built with long-lasting connectors and latches to make sure that the modules remain secure. In fact, the connectors would survive 10,000 swap-out/in cycles without dying.
Coming to the software, Greybus has been developed by the ATAP team to back up continuous module connections which are energy-efficient and with data-speeds up to 11.9Gbps. In other words any information exchanged between the phone’s brain and a module will be very fast leaving you with a receptive and a smooth experience. Also, the latest Android operating system will be improved marginally to make it right for Ara.
Despite, the unalterable internals, the phone will still allow its users to change a number of significant hardware modules like its camera, speakers or an expandable storage. Other options cover a customisation key, a kickstand, a tiny compartment for loading the odd TicTac, a monochromatic secondary display for showing useful info (like the weather) and different colour modules prepared from various materials only to go with what you are wearing or make it feel different.
Conceivably, the most important feature of the modules is the “hot-swappable”. This will allow you to install the new ones without having to reboot your phone. Also you don’t have to go hunting to download the drivers so that a new module works. It’s a true plug-and-play.
The prospective for Project Ara could be enormous, especially in business and hospitals where developers could create tailored modules for the device. Google already has a list of hardware partners lined up ready for take-off which includes companies like Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic and E-Ink. The current version of Project Ara, which was freshly demonstrated at the Google’s I/O conference in San Francisco, has six spaces for modules. All slots are universal and any module can fit into any of the spaces. Some of them, like the E-Ink secondary display is square and could engage two spaces while others, like the loudspeaker and camera could go in for just one space. Google wants Project Ara to be accessible to the already well-known brands as well as the ambitious start-up developers.
Project Ara is already rumoured to have lined up with LG G5 and Moto Z. If rumours are to be followed then the upcoming Moto Z is far more adaptable than the former.
In a nutshell, Google’s Project Ara wants to be that phone which could match up to you irrespective of where you are or what you are in to. About its release date, we are not sure yet. However, it is being said that it could be available in the market in 2017. Project Ara was encouraged by the Phonebloks idea, a much related project that too wants to make “a phone worth keeping.” The Project Ara team has claimed that it will partner with Phonebloks to build in some aspects but it is not confirmed yet.
Picture courtesy – atap.google.com
by techtalks @TechTalks August 30, 2016 10:26 AM UTC