What is Project Ara?

Google has earned a prodigious level of notoriety of acquiring established and startup companies in order to help reach their objectives and a vision on what their future is like. In order to do this, there are several projects that have been undertaken by the company. One of them is Project Loon (which will allow the company to deploy high altitude balloons or satellites to provide internet access speeds of 1 Gbps to areas that have a very poorly developed networking infrastructure for the facilitation of internet access). The next project will be perhaps the progenitor of a new form of mobile industry that will storm the globe and envelop it immediately. That project is named Project Ara and will comprise up of a modular smartphone. Major league tech companies might not like the idea of having a modular smartphone coming in the mobile industry as it may hurt them financially but then again, it is the consumers that run the financial show for these companies, not the other way. Here are some reasons why Google’s Project Ara will run up smiles for smartphone users.

How exactly will Project Ara help consumers?

Let us concoct a scenario here. Smartphones and tablets as you well know, do not possess removable components that can be replaced or removed in order to pave the way to upgrade an existing component for better performance or replace that component if it stops functioning. They only way these components are actually repaired or replaced is if you hand them over to for warranty or to repair centers. Now, if smartphone users feel that their devices are not functioning according to their expectations (which in this case, the expectation will be performance), they are always save up money to purchase a new one. The only problem is that smartphones belonging to the higher-tier category of performance are stamped with a price tag that will cost you and arm and a leg and therefore, will not make it a feasible option for consumers on a budget to purchase expensive smartphones. Not everyone in this world has the financial capacity to dish out $500 on a speed demon of a smartphone. Project Ara will overcome this financial limitation of allowing consumers to modularize their devices and transform them in to a device that will suit their needs best.

Change smartphone components to suit your needs

Project Ara will be using the same principle that desktop and laptop computer owners use. Even though replacing computer components is still an expensive venture, it is miles better than spending money on a whole new machine altogether. Whenever a user feels that a component is creating a bottleneck (the performance limitation of a computer component that limits the speed of other components) or is about to reach the end of its functionality, users can upgrade their system components and remove the performance limitation from the equation. Unfortunately, the same thing cannot applied on current generation smartphones and tablets. If the user wants to make an upgrade of a smartphone, then he / she is going to have to make a sizable investment, because fast performing smartphones do not come cheap. With Project Ara, the principle of upgrading your components in a hand held gadget will become a reality.

Exactly which components can be upgraded?

Given below are the following components (in more detailed terms, they are known as modules) that will be made available to users, should they choose to upgrade the components in their devices.

  • Screen size
  • Battery size
  • Camera
  • Ram
  • Chipset
  • Wireless adapter

In short, users will be able to modify their smartphones and make them according to their liking. Majority of the times, when a potential customer is interested in purchasing a smartphone, and after he/she has actually found the they are looking, that device always has something or the other missing from it that dismantles the entire experience for the user. Not anymore. With Project Ara, users will be able to adjust the screen size according to their choosing as well as choose the level of performance they desire. In addition, they can also choose to upgrade their wireless adapters (ex: they can choose to upgrade from a wireless adapter supporting the 802.11 n to the 802.11 ac standard in order to enjoy smoother web browsing and video streaming). Smartphones users also have a propensity to erroneously drop their devices which ends up producing scratches or in the worst case scenario, shattering their screens. With Project Ara, is something similar takes place, users can replace the screen with ease through the purchasing of modules.

Lifespan of Project Ara phones

Project Ara phones will have an expected life span of five to six years; which is longer compared to the lifespan of current generation smartphones. That being said, instead of spending every two years for a faster device, users can save up money for a particular component which will deliver them the same level of performance and cost them far less than purchasing a new phone altogether.

When will Project Ara’s phones be made available on a consumer level?

Google expects that the entry level smartphones of the project will be expected to be released in the year 2015 and will carry a starting price tag of $50. The price will exponentially increase when users want to start increasing their device’s performance and flexibility by purchasing additional components (modules). However, in order to make modular smartphones in to a reality, Google has given its first batch of Project Ara smartphones to developers so that when users actually plug in a module, that module will possess a ‘plug and play’ functionality instead of requiring additional form of software to run, which will turn in to a very tedious operation. With modular smartphones, even entry and mid ranged smartphone users can experience what it’s like to run a high end handheld device. Now, the only thing left to do is to wait for the first batch of smartphones to reach consumer levels and users can enjoy modularizing their devices according to their wishes.


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