For those who’ve been hibernating for the past few months, Project Ara is part of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, and aims to unleash customisable “modular” phones.
The first Project Ara Developers Conference is going down this week, and we’re getting tons more info, including word of the first Project Ara phone.
The Grey Phone, as it’s called, will be an entry-level device costing just $50 to produce, though obviously the consumer price will be a tad higher than that. Hey, dudes gotta make profits.
It’s penciled in for a January 2015 release, though obviously that’s still a good nine months away.
As I was saying the other day, there’ll be three tiers of device, namely Mini, Medium and Large, and we’re told to expect a high-end beast with a $500 manufacturing cost at a later date.
Interestingly, we’re starting to get into the nitty gritty of the modular phone concept, and one thing I admittedly hadn’t considered before now is the idea of security for individual components. They are, after all, easily removable.
Project Ara guy Paul Eremenko explains: "To a large extent, that's a question for module developers. [It] seems like it would be a useful feature to have in a lot of modules, especially modules that store a lot of information.
“We don't envision it as a platform feature. It would be on a module-by-module basis."
We’re also now calling the endoskeleton the Endo (kool, m8), which Eremenko reckons will last a good 5-6 years. The connector modules for components are designed to handle a fair amount of action, which makes sense, since tech fiends could be changing components every few months, and/or regularly trialling/reviewing new components.
At present, Android doesn’t support the modular system, but, y’know, this is a Google project, so I wouldn’t worry about that too much.