Google Reportedly Cancels Modular Smartphone Project Ara
Tech enthusiasts might be sad to find out that Google has cancelled Project Ara, the initiative to build modular smartphones with interchangeable components. While the official word says that the development has been suspended, it seems unlikely that Project Ara will see the light of day from Google’s side.
Project Ara was originally announced by Motorola around three years ago as a move to limit the constant smartphone generational jumps by providing users with the option to swap out components such as cameras and batteries from their phones with newer models.
The technology was being developed by Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, which Google kept after selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo back in 2014.
Just because Google isn’t working on Project Ara doesn’t mean that the dream of modular smartphones is finished as it is possible the technology will get licensed by other companies. The decision is said to be part of an effort to unify Google’s hardware development under former Motorola president Rick Osterloh.
This news comes as a shock as only earlier this year, Google seemed committed to Project Ara during its I/O conference and renewed its efforts to make the devices available as soon as possible. A developer version of the modular smartphones was even said to be on the way in Fall 2016 while consumer release was planned for 2017.
Project Ara, being built by Google themselves instead of other manufacturing partners, was going to be the company’s first self-built consumer smartphone as they have previously relied on companies like LG and Motorola for the hardware side of Nexus devices.
Google will still however continue to build their own smartphone by possibly merging the Nexus lineup with their new Pixel branding, creating devices that not only feature their Android OS but also their own hardware instead of other partners’.