Google's Modular Ara Phones Will Go on Sale January 2015

Illustration for article titled Googles Modular Ara Phones Will Go on Sale January 2015

Google has gone into more detail about its Project Ara modular mobile system, using a specific developers conference for the hardware format to update us on its plans for self-assembling our dream phones out of various components.

The two key dates as far as Google are concerned are this December—when an Android update will prepare the OS for the phones—and January of 2015, when the first modular mobiles are set to go on sale.

Much like Motorola's Moto Maker customiser, Project Ara will be built around an Ara Configurator tool, one that lets users add custom images and colours to the phones while they're selecting components, plus 3D printed textures will be available too, so we'll be able to add bumpy bits to cases.


Google's Paul Eremenko, the head of Project Ara, claims the modular construction system means people may end up sticking with the same phone for "five or six years" as they pop in a new camera or processor unit when they feel like it instead of upgrading the whole thing. Hopefully that's not foreshadowing Google charging us three times as much as a normal phone for the base.

A developer edition of the Project Ara hardware will arrive before it hits the consumer shelves. It's definitely happening. [Project Ara via Mashable]

Illustration for article titled Googles Modular Ara Phones Will Go on Sale January 2015

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The problem with this is a modular phone will never be as sleek and stylish as an integrated phone. People have tried this before with laptops, build your own laptops are clunky and cumbersome. People like a very sleek, tightly integrated design like a Macbook. In addition it's likely the add on bits will be expensive. Think how expensive it is buying parts for your laptop. The problem is laptop components are typically proprietary, with only one or two companies making the parts, if you're lucky. As a result they're expensive. If LG is the only company making these add on phone parts they can charge whatever they want, and you can bet they won't be cheap.