Google's Modular Phone Will Let You Swap Hardware While It Runs

Illustration for article titled Google's Modular Phone Will Let You Swap Hardware While It Runs

Google's plan to create a cheap and versatile modular smartphone, known as Ara, has garnered interest from more than just the humble consumer. Now, it's been revealed that you'll be able to swap virtually all of its components without ever switching the phone off.


The Ara project director Paul Eremenko recently explained in a talk that the phone will allow you to swap all of its hardware modules—apart from the CPU and display—while it's switched on. Not just that, but you'll be able to do it while processes are running, when you're, say, typing a message or taking a call. That's apparently made possible by a modified version of Android L developed in collaboration with the non-profit Linaro.

We already knew that the device's batteries were hot-swappable, but this is an even more impressive party trick. With limited space for all the sensors we might like aboard a phone, imagine being able to swap your camera for a high-quality speaker or air sensor or whatever the hell else Google decided to make for Ara. No wonder the military is interested. [YouTube via Phonebloks via Engadget]


Hot-swapping beyond removable storage in a consumer device is pretty much useless, but surely will lead to more complex electronics and more complex software than needed.