Google Reveals Plans for Modular Smartphone

Tech heads are drooling over the anticipated launch of Google’s Project Ara, an Android-powered modular smartphone that allows users to build phones for the specific things they want. Some of the details of the new project were released yesterday at a Project Ara Developers Conference in Mountain View, California.

Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group has now released a Modular Developers Kit for the phone so they can see some of the design features.

Project Ara is similar to a Linux system on a computer. Everything is there that you need to function, but you get to choose how it all fits together. It might also enable users to upgrade certain aspects of their phone such as the camera, rather than having to buy a new one every couple years. This is certainly not going to be an option for basic smartphone users, but it will add a whole new level of fun to the mix for programmers.

The Modular Developers Kit describes Ara as follows: “The Ara platform consists of an on-device packet-switched data network based on the MIPI UniPro protocol stack, a flexible power bus, and an elegant industrial design that mechanically unites the modules with an endoskeleton.”

There are several configurations available for the front and back end of the phone, but Google is still not sure if all of those options will be available for the phone’s launch. What is certain is the fact that the phone will utilize electro-permanent magnets (EPM) to keep the modules in place.

ARA is expected to be compatible with most standard smartphone apps when it launches.

About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.