Google shows off a prototype version of the module-based Project Ara along with a list of updates that you need to know if you’re interested about the upcoming build-it-yourself smartphone. The company is confident that building a working Project Ara would only cost under $100 or around Php4,400.
The basic “grey” phone costs around $50 (approx. Php2,200, directly converted) when it comes out. The breakdown is as follows: $15 for Endoskeleton frame, $15 for the display, $10 for the main AP module, $5 for battery, and another $5 for a Wi-Fi unit. This is just the very basic set and Google said that getting started with a working Project Ara would only cost under $100 (approx Php4,400).
Here are a few more things to know about Project Ara:
- The most important component of the device is the chassis or “Endoskeleton”.
- As previously reported, sizes come in small (around 4.3 inches), medium (5 inches), and large (5.7 inches) with 2×5, 3×6, 4×7 blocks, respectively.
- Modules come in 1×1, 2×1, and 2×2 blocks
- The AP or Application Processor module (shown below) is the brain of the phone and it contains the CPU, memory, and SD card slot which are all in one module and couldn’t be separated.
- There are three main technologies that make Project Ara work: The UniPro which is responsible for the modules to communicate to each other, the capacitive M-PHY which is a physical interface that makes sure its 10 connection points don’t easily get worn out from swapping modules over time, and the electropermanent magnets that keep modules in place. It only uses current to toggle magnets on and off so it doesn’t drain your battery continuously unlike normal electromagnets do.
- Google expects the Endoskeleton to last 5-6 years. This alone, for me, is reason enough to switch to Project Ara rather than changing your smartphones every two years or so.
- Swapping the main battery without turning off the device is possible since there’s a built-in battery apart from the main battery embedded in the Endo — a first we’ve seen in smartphones.
- New 3D printers will be developed to produce customized casings for Project Ara users. The machine will be able to print cases in clear and CMYK colors at 600dpi. Keyword: Customize!
- We won’t be seeing stock Android on Project Ara. Instead, Google will be developing a specific software that could support the dynamic configurations of the device.
- The basic “grey” phone could be seen as early as January 2015.
So what do you guys think of the Project Ara with its new updates? Is it something to be excited about? Share those thoughts below!