News & Reviews: Project Ara
Last Updated: Sep 02, 2016
Google’s parent company Alphabet has suspended Project Ara, the ambitious project to build a modular smartphone for the masses. Instead, they will look for manufacturing partners who can licence the product instead.
Last Updated: May 21, 2016
After a number of delays, Google confirmed that their Project Ara modular smartphone will be shipping to developers in Q4 of 2016. The recent demo during Google I/O not only saw a fully working Project Ara smartphone but also the fact that you can now say "Ok Google, eject the camera" and have the camera module pop out on its own. Modules for checking blood glucose levels and more are expected, making Project Ara completely customizable.
Last Updated: Feb 09, 2016
The Project Ara smartphone by Google aims to create a modular smartphone that you can switch out the components as or when you need to. While we've yet to hear any concrete news on Malaysia release dates for the Project Ara phone, it looks like a Project Ara Tablet has surfaced on GFXBench. Named the Google Project Ara (A8A01), the device offers the following tech specs:
- 1.9GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
- 3GB RAM
- 16GB / 32GB storage
- 13.8-inch display (full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution)
- 0.3MP rear camera + 4.8MP front camera
- supports GPS, NFC, WiFi, Single SIM
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow
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: 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: Dec 04, 2014
Google's Project ARA isn't the only modular smartphone under development. A Finnish startup by the name of Circular Devices has just announced a new project, called the Puzzlephone. As the name suggests, it is a modular smartphone with replaceable parts which can be put together like a puzzle. However, you can't replace everything on this phone like Project ARA. It is made up of three different components namely the brain, spine and heart. The brain consists of electronic components like the processor and the camera. The spine includes speakers, main buttons, microphone and display while the hear houses the phone's battery and other secondary components. You can swap each of these modules to upgrade your device.
Last Updated: Oct 14, 2014
We first reported on the Blocks modular smartwatch earlier in the year but it looks like they could be coming out soon better than before. Things have been looking up for the Blocks team as they received funding from Intel and are now looking to release their first 1000 units of the Blocks modular smartwatch under an exclusive membership program. A recently released video shows that while the interlocking module design remains the same there are now a lot more modules including a round watchface, heart rate monitor and much more. Check it out for yourself in the video below:
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: Mar 07, 2014
Considering that Project Ara is already well on the way to making an affordable yet customizable modular smartphone, Blocks is going the same way but for smart watches or smart bands. Like Project Ara, each component of the smartwatch, such as the display or the GPS or processor can be customized according to the segments of the device. These segments hook up to each other to create a very angular looking smartwatch which looks more sharp than comfortable, at least to us, but lets you customize your smartwatch as you need it. For now, Blocks is more of a realistic concept render and an idea with no news yet on a possible Malaysia release date or pricing, but if it does come true it could be a good step forward for the wearable mobile device many are expecting to replace the smartphone. Check out the Blocks video for yourself in this article or go to the Blocks site for more information.