07 PM | 22 Jan

Google’s Modular Smartphone Is Designed Exclusively for 6 Billion People

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In 2011, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team began to imagine a different type of smartphone—one with interchangeable parts. Named Project Ara, Google’s initiative to build a modular smartphone has now come to swappable fruition.

At developers’ conferences on January 14 and 21, Google announced product pilot testing in Puerto Rico and unveiled its first Project Ara advertisement, suggesting that the low-cost phone will hit markets later this year, with the lofty goal of democratizing mobile technology.

Customize Your Phone‚ Starting at $50

At Google’s two Project Ara Module Developers Conferences this past week (in California and Singapore, respectively), the technology giant unveiled a new ARTOS12 Development Kit, allowing technologists to begin creating new modules for the product.

Ara’s interchangeable modules are at the heart of this phone’s cost-saving strategy: users can replace broken modules rather than replace the entire phone and customize features to fit their needs (and budget). Current modules include cameras and sensors, as well as unconventional receipt printers and medical devices. The phone frame starts at $50; by unbundling features, Google ensures the device can be customized to any price point.

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