Project Ara

Project Ara by Google is basically an open platform for creating highly modular smartphones that will include a structural frame (endoskeleton that holds smartphone modules of the owner’s choice), such as a display, camera or an extra battery. It would allow users to swap out malfunctioning modules or upgrade individual modules as innovations emerge, providing longer lifetime cycles for the handset, and potentially reducing electronic waste. It’s hitting Puerto Rico later this year, but there’s no word yet on pricing of the individual components nor a complete handset. Continue reading for more hands-on pictures, a video and additional information.

“Google says it’s already made a few changes since the initial prototype. That includes moving the electro-permanent magnets from the modules to the metal endoskeleton frame. It also changed its plan to 3D print the covers of modules, which are now being done with injection-molded polycarbonate plastic. That was going to be a key factor of customizing the modules, which Google now expects will be done when people are designing their phone through its shell maker, which is a bit like Motorola’s Moto Maker. There are also plans to let buyers design their phone at the point of purchase, then print the back of the modules on the spot,” reports The Verge.