News & Reviews: modular smartphone
Last Updated: Jun 17, 2015
Modular smartphones are on the rise and the latest to be announced would be the Fairphone 2. Unlike the more famous Project Ara smartphone, which lets you slot in and slot out the required modules, the Fairphone 2 is the modular smartphone you put together with the help of your smartphone repairperson or a certain screwdriver. While it offers modules for different purposes, the Fairphone 2 is still constructed using tiny screws and will require a bit more technical knowhow and aptitude than your casual layperson. Most techies and Arduino or home electronic enthusiasts should qualify though as the company have made it fairly easy to take apart and put back together (no tape or glue), but pricing is surprisingly high at €525 (RM2221) in Q3 of 2015 for Europe with no specific Malaysia release dates just yet. The default casing it comes with is shock resistant to a certain degree though but we're not sure if this makes the Fairphone 2 equal to Project Ara which has a basic price tag of just $50 (RM187).
Last Updated: Jan 15, 2015
The modular smartphone project that started out with Phonebloks is finally and officially announced with the Project ARA Spiral 2 smartphone. Initial tech specs are entry-level to midrange with Marvel PXA1928 and NVIDIA Tegra K1 processors, a 5MP rear camera, 3G connectivity and a 720 x 1280 pixel resolution display. Unfortunately, the battery is supposedly 20% to 30% less capable than a normal smartphone. However, while there are only 11 modules at the moment, Google intend to get up to 30 by the end of 2015. A new Spiral 3 smartphone is expected soon but like always, there is no Malaysia release date or pricing details. For now, the Spiral 2 seems to be headed for Puerto Rico but you can see more in the videos in this article.
Last Updated: Dec 24, 2014
The modular smartphone known as Project Ara is coming along well apparently as they have confirmed quite a few things, including the board design and some tech specs. For the basic board design, a Project Ara smartphone will use a remodeled Spiral 2 circuit board while the processors will include those from Marvell and NVIDIA. This means we could see a Marvell PXA1928 or an NVIDIA Tegra K1 in upcoming Project Ara smartphones. Functioning prototypes have already been created and are expected to be announced or at least shown off at the Google Developer Conference come January 2015. The team expect that the Spiral 2 basic board will soon get upgraded to Spiral 3 courtesy of Toshiba as well. Still no news yet on other tech specs and features like cameras and displays, much less Malaysia release dates or pricing but more details could come later in 2015.
Last Updated: Oct 01, 2014
The Project Ara modular smartphone project has revealed some interesting news. Since the frame has it's own reserve power when the smartphone does come out, you can swap out parts like the battery or memory or storage while the smartphone is on. The only two parts that require you to shut the smartphone off first are the processor and display module parts. Still no news on any Malaysia release dates or pricing but Google have said that the basic kit will start from $50 (RM164). We expect it to come in early 2015 but probably just for the US at first and it will likely run the latest Android L operating system. Check out the video in this article for more details on Project Ara.
Last Updated: Apr 10, 2014
Barely a week after Google's Project Ara progress report video and they have already announced the first Project Ara Module Developers Kit or MDK for developers of the Project Ara modules. As it is, the MDK outline three sizes, with Google currently being the only producer of the endoskeletons. The MDK doesn't reveal everything though, perhaps because Google are still working on it, as there is mention of an online marketplace for Project Ara phone modules but no details on where just yet. Check out the full document at the Project Ara site with more MDKs and Project Ara developer conferences expected soon. Still no definite news on pricing or Malaysia release dates but we hope that it comes within 2014.
Last Updated: Apr 04, 2014
While Lenovo may have bought Motorola, the Project Ara modular smartphone remained at Google. Since it was based off of the Phonebloks concept, Phonebloks recently checked up on the Project Ara team to see how far they were going. The visit was documented into the video below which more or less shows that Project Ara is on track to becoming a working modular smartphone. Still no news when that might become a reality but Google has said that the entry-level unit should be priced not more than $50 (RM164), and that developers get the kit for free. The whole Project Ara looks to be quite thorough, right down to a user-friendly interface for non-techies to make their own pick and place modular smartphone, so check out the video in this article.
Last Updated: Oct 29, 2013
Do you remember the modular smartphone concept Phonebloks? Well, it seems that they weren't the only ones working on a similar modular smartphone concept as Motorola have come out with their take on the concept with Project Ara. Built upon the bones of Project Sticky, Motorola say that they have been working on Project Ara for about a year now and have contacted Phonebloks. According to Motorola, they will use input from the Phonebloks community to help improve Project Ara. We were excited when the Phonebloks concept first came out so we're thrilled now that Motorola are picking up the pace with Project Ara. No news on pricing or Malaysia release dates just yet, but we expect this to take at least another 6 or so more months with a possible release date in 2014 (perhaps at CES 2014, Computex 2014 or IFA 2014?). For now, check out the Project Ara pics and refresh your memory with the previous Phonebloks video in this article.