For some of us, phone upgrades are a constant exercise, with a new product landing in our hands every year, or two, or three. But a project from Google could mean updates are quick, frequent, and easy.
A little over a year ago, an idea surfaced of making a phone that could be assembled like blocks, with modules for a screen, a camera, a 4G modem, and so on, with all of these parts removable and replaceable, meaning if you wanted to update your 8 megapixel camera to a newer 13 megapixel one, you could, simply by removing your old camera and snapping in a new module.
The same sort of thing would happen with the screen, and if you broke it — like so many people do with phones — you could just snap it out and throw a new one in.
Voila. New screen. Forget taking it to a specialist or repairer, as you could do it yourself.
Project Ara would use a frame with modular sections for you to snap things in, making it a phone that you could control, with choices for camera, battery size, and more, with the sky being the limit.
You could have a new phone simply by taking out one part and adding another, updating your product on a regular basis as opposed to once every two or three years.
This week, Google has shown Ara through a new prototype, called the “Spiral 2” which uses a metal frame with magnets to hold in the modules, with a few variants of these.
We’re checking with Google to see when we can go hands-on with the Ara for ourselves, but it’s probably a fair way off for Australia, with Google running a test program for the gadget in Puerto Rico first.