Tuesday , August 22 2017

Google confirms that Project Ara has been suspended – where to from here?

Ara device
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.

Project Ara - Dead

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.

 
Source: Dave Hakkens, and VentureBeat.

Daniel Tyson   Editor

Dan is a die-hard Android fan. Some might even call him a lunatic. He's been an Android user since Android was a thing, and if there's a phone that's run Android, chances are he owns it (his Nexus collection is second-to-none) or has used it.

Dan's dedication to Ausdroid is without question, and he has represented us at some of the biggest international events in our industry including Google I/O, Mobile World Congress, CES and IFA.

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6 Comments on "Google confirms that Project Ara has been suspended – where to from here?"

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Fred
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Fred
They focused on the wrong things. Rather than “can we design a natty way of snapping modules in or out”, they should have been targeting “how do we allow them to change the CPU, memory, storage, bands & camera – the type of thing that they ended up failing to do whilst they concentrated on ‘addons’. It shouldn’t be that complex to imagine a connector and some screws to swap in and out key modules (your desktop basically does that) and software wise it would just need drivers either made installable, or a common interface. THAT would make sense, since… Read more »
Michael
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Michael

Realistically, the main thing that reduces the lifespan of smartphones is the lack of ongoing software support. Faster CPUs and better cameras are great, but even without these upgrades, a smartphone would remain usable a lot longer if it got regular and timely operating system upgrades.

Member

I’m not sure I really understand this comment. My mother-in-law is still rocking my cast-off LG 4xHD which certainly hasn’t had an operating system upgrade for, at least, the last 3 years. It remains quite usable, certainly for taking photos, checking facebook, emails and sending SMS messages etc, as well as making phone calls.

I think ‘regular and timely operating system upgrades’ is a niche concern that might be popular on sites such as Ausdroid but is very much a non-issue regarding phone longevity in the real world.

Michael
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Michael
That depends on whether or not you use Apps. I have a Galaxy S2 that is stuck on Android 4.1.2 (ignoring custom Roms). There is plenty of software in the Play Store that requires 4.4 or better to run, but would run just fine on this phone otherwise. So, my point is that lack of software updates limits what you can do with an old phone just as much as the hardware does. In the PC market your 5 year old PC can update to the latest version of Windows, and make use of modern software. Not so with Android… Read more »
Member
This is a shame. Quite how commercially viable it would have been is another matter. Phones have developed an existence quite beyond their basic functionality and there are a great many users out there that like the idea of getting a new phone with some regularity regardless as to how well it was meeting their performance needs. My OnePlus One recently passed its second anniversary with me and if I had the option to slot in a fresh battery or snap in a faster chip I could quite easily see myself celebrating many more with it; but, in that, I… Read more »
craigo
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I’m in the same boat with my Nexus 6. All I want is a faster CPU to cope with the increased usage.

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