back to article Google teases more modular smartphone details in run-up to dev meet-up

Google has posted a video that provides a few more details of its "Project Ara" modular smartphone effort, perhaps to drum up interest in the upcoming Ara Developers Conference to be held later this month. Google's Project Ara 'Phonebloks' phone Want to upgrade your Wi-Fi from 802.11n to 802.11ac? There should be a module …


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  1. Oh Homer


    And they said it would never happen.

  2. ratfox

    It looks super cool…

    I can't really imagine this really taking off though. When you think of it, there is less than 1% of people who even upgrade a laptop before buying a new one.

    1. Vince Lewis 1

      Re: It looks super cool…

      Yes, but there really only 2 things you can upgrade on a laptop. HDD and RAM, both of which can only give a small performance increase and requires screw drivers and some knowledge.

      If you can swap Graphics, CPU and so on as easily as you would a fridge magnet then its a big difference.

    2. Clive Galway

      Re: It looks super cool…

      Laptop screens do not tend to break anything like as much as phones.

      About the only easily replaceable part (For your average user) would be the battery or maybe the hard disk. Replacement hard disks are the only one universal in size and they are stocked in every hardware store.

      If you could easily slide out the processor, ram, gpu etc it would be a different story.

  3. Roger Stenning

    Interesting concept...

    ...I like it. Hope it actually gets off the R&D desk and into production for us in the real world to play with :-)

  4. JaitcH

    Type approval might be interesting ...

    with some officious regulators thinking any change is bad.

    Great concept, though, should do well so South Paws (l/handers) can have cell handsets that fit their needs precisely.

  5. McHack

    I want my LEGO phone

    Where I snap the PnP parts I want on the baseplate back cover, which includes the replaceable battery and removable flash memory, add filler blocks as needed, then snap on the front cover display/touchpad (or 2/3 display if using the BB-style keyboard). A quarter turn at the locking post holes with the supplied tool, done.

    Anything less just doesn't seem "modular" enough.

    1. PaulR79

      Re: I want my LEGO phone

      If you watch the video when the guy's talking about 3D printing the back parts you can see a white LEGO design on one of the pieces along with a skull design.

  6. Clive Galway

    The future of personal computing?

    This has so many uses beyond phones.

    Home computing (word processing, browsing etc) - Being able to assemble a low-spec PC from either new modules or cast-off modules you do not need any more could decimate the consumer desktop market.

    Home entertainment (IPTV / XBMC etc) - Though I think some of the maturity of some of these apps is there yet, this is definitely an emerging market. Also it makes it very easy for TV makers to include optional (and upgradeable) Android functionality in TVs.

    Gaming (Console / Casual / Mobile) - It would be very easy to make a gaming machine by shaping the endo like a game controller.

    It could also be a way to get a slice of the console market without actually releasing a console.

    It's also good for small businesses - they can bring modules to market without having to design a whole device.

    Possibly a very shrewd move by Google with regards to Apple.

    It distances them design-wise from Apple, with a feature that if Apple implemented, would hurt their business model badly.

    So many potential wins for Google, they would be mad not to pursue it.

  7. Spearchucker Jones

    Cautiously curious. If this gets real it could be the first product from Google I'd shell out cash for.

  8. Alan Denman

    Going nowhere?

    I can't see this being in Lenovos interests to go far so Moto now says no ?

    Abandoning standardisation is the way to keep reselling everything to us fools. So this concept has business problems.

  9. Alan Denman

    A secure PC in your pocket?

    If the keyboard, screen etc are the crypto key I could see this working very well.

    We could even have a secondary module at home as auto-backup but their heads are in the cloud away from practicality.

    The traditional PC needs this to fail.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Wait a minute...

    This is being developed in Cupertino right? Because they invented everything on "mobile" right? Damn Google copycats!

  11. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    LTE went that way -->

    Forget the battery, display, CPU, RAM, GPU, WiFi, and all that boilerplate. Within 2 years your phone will be so obsolete that no upgrades will be compatible. The one thing that needs ultra-rapid upgrades is the radio. At least in the US, spectrum shuffles around at least once a year. You're on legacy bands or kicked down to 3G before the phone is paid off.

  12. Oninoshiko

    I don't think anything will come of it

    The problem is, most of the different components of a phone a better housed on a single chip. Yes, you CAN increase the modularity, by having bluetooth/wifi/cell on different modules, but if it comes at an increase in cost, what's the point?

    I'd be happy just keeping screens and batteries modular.

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