Google’s plan to revolutionize smartphones will start shipping next year

Project Ara

Google wants to revolutionize how you use and buy smartphones by creating a device where you can swap out different parts of its hardware on the go, like the battery, camera, speakers, or screen.

A base frame contains the phone’s core components, but each additional part will be bought separately so your phone specializes in whatever you want it to, whether that means having great speakers or a fish-eye camera lens.

Also, Ara’s concept means that you won’t have to head to the repair shop or get a completely new device if your battery stops holding a charge or the screen shatters.

Google has been working on this ambitious modular phone concept, dubbed Project Ara, for three years, but it’s finally moving it out of the skunkworks division ATAP and into Google proper under its new hardware exec, Rick Osterloh.

Ara will start shipping developer kits this fall and actual consumer products sometime next year. That second part is particularly surprising: Google hadn’t announced before that it actually planned to build its own device.

“It will be thin, it will be light, it will be beautiful, and we’ll launch it next year,” Google’s Richard Wooldridge said on stage at Google’s I/O developers’ conference.

The device will have six different sections where modules can be snapped in and out.


Here’s the company’s video on the vision of Project Ara: