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Project Ara modular phone coming to consumers next year

Several years ago, the internet became obsessed with the idea of ‘Phonebloks’, a modular smartphone concept that later went on to become ‘Project Ara’. While there have been some delays, this year we will get to see a brand new Ara development kit and after a long wait, the first consumer-ready modular Ara smartphones will arrive in 2017.

This information is all coming out of Google I/O, which kicked off this week. As 9to5Google points out, Ara is a big focus for the company now and it even has its own division. The new development kit has been designed to maximize space of modules by fitting them onto the frame using six generic slots that are compatible with any module or function.

Ara

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As advertised, installing a new module is a simple process, all you need to do is plug it in and it should work right off the bat with no restarts required. Modules can be removed safely by ‘ejecting’ them in the software, similarly to USB sticks on PC.

Currently, modules include speakers, high-resolution cameras, expandable storage, secondary displays and more from partners like Sony, Samsung and Toshiba.

KitGuru Says: Project Ara is an exciting device and while it has seen a few delays, it seems like Google finally has everything working properly, to a point that the skeleton and modules could go on sale next year. Have any of you been following Project Ara over the years? Do you think modular smartphones will work? 

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