At the Google I/O developer conference, the company’s highly-ambitious Project Ara was also given some exposure. At the Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) session, Google not only showed off progress updates on its Project Tango tablet, but also revealed a working prototype of its modular Project Ara smartphone…well, something like that.
Project Ara, one of Google’s most ambitious projects to revolutionise the smartphone world, aims to produce modular smartphones; that is, a smartphone with individual hardware parts than can be removed and replaced without having to change the entire smartphone. At the ATAP session, Project Ara head Paul Eremenko revealed updates on what his team had achieved, culminating in a working prototype called Spiral 1.
Well, “working” depends on your definition. The device successfully powered up (externally jump-started with external cables) and entered the boot screen (the Android logo), but froze beyond that point. Still, that the device even powered up is quite an achievement, given the complexities involved with such a device.
The Ara team have now proven that the modular smartphone is more than just a concept. It will need a lot of work, but now it has been confirmed that this actually works. Such is the confidence of the team that they expect to have a developer preview ready by the end of the year.
On top of that, the Ara team is also dangling a pretty juicy carrot for developers. It’s offering $100,000 and a trip to Ara’s next developer conference as a prize for any developer who builds a working module that “lets a phone do something that a phone has never done before”.