After a report surfaced on Friday with the rumour that Google had suspended their modular phone concept Project Ara, Google has now confirmed that the project has been suspended.
The confirmation was given to VentureBeat in response to their request for comment on the rumour, ending speculation on the future of Project Ara. No information on the rumour that Google could license the technology to third parties for release as a working phone concept with the Google spokesperson declining to comment further.
Project Ara was first announced in October of 2013, and now, 3 years later it’s all over. This is confirmed further by the founder of Phonebloks, Dave Hakkens, who launched his idea for a modular phone in September 2013 just prior to the announcement of Project Ara. At the time, Motorola and then down the track, Google were working together with PhoneBloks on Ara, but that’s now over.
Hakkens has stated on his blog that the modular concept for phones however isn’t dead, stating that the idea is sound as a way to reduce e-waste and promoting other modular phone concepts such as PuzzlePhone and Fairphone.
Going further, Mr Hakkens encourages those who believe in modular smartphones to join the Phonebloks community to ‘pitch ideas, make connections, share news about modularity, and keep it popular’.
Former Head of Design at Google ATAP and founder of Project Ara Dan Makoski, spoke his regrets about Project Ara being cancelled yesterday in a tweet. Mr Makoski however has moved onto the next phase of modular phone development, this time working with Nexpaq, creators of a modular phone case.
Nexpaq sells modules including breathalyser and laser pointer modules for the Nexpaq case which so far only supports the Galaxy S6/S6 Edge, or iPhone 6S+ and 6/6S. But perhaps the death of Project Ara could spur them on to broadening their range.
As far as Google is concerned, it appears that modular phones are dead – but it may not be that way forever for the rest of the world. If you believe in modular phones, it may be worthwhile reaching out to Phonebloks, or checking out one of the other modular computing options out there.