Google is working on a modular smartphone. Blocks is working on a modular smartwatch. But won’t someone think of the tablets? OK.
Spanish company ImasD just started taking orders for one.
The Click ARM One is a 10 inch tablet with removable modules for storage, memory, and even the display.
ImasD is taking pre-orders now and hopes to ship the Click ARM One tablet this summer. It sells for 289€ or about $313 US. The company is also partnering with Circular Devices to launch a modular phone called the PuzzlePhone.
The ARM in Click ARM stands for Advanced Removable Modules and has nothing to do with the chip design firm that goes by the same name.
At launch the Click ARM One tablet will be a limited edition device, with about 1,000 units built. The company says it’ll support Android, Ubuntu, Tizen, and other operating systems.
It will initially come with a CK Core module featuring a Samsung Exynos 4412 processor and 2GB of RAM. But it’s designed to be removable so you can swap out a bad core and replace it with a new model… or switch it for another core with more memory or a different processor if anyone makes one.
Other modular components include a motherboard with HDMI, WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB, a 16GB storage module, and a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel multitouch display. Each of those pieces is designed to be user replaceable.
In other words… it’s a tablet designed like a traditional desktop PC. That probably shouldn’t be too surprising since tablets are basically PCs. But most smartphones and tablets on the market are sold as complete systems with integrated memory, storage, displays, and other components. You can’t even remove the battery from most recent mobile devices without voiding the warranty.
ImasD is also encouraging third party hardware developers to create their own modules which will connect to the Click ARM One through a mini PCI Express port.
“But won’t someone think of the tablets? OK.”
Haha! That was funny, Brad.
I just hope Ara has 7″ and 8″ frames. I’m looking for a tablet to use on Googles MVNO.
In this case I believe that works, because tablets are great, but in the case of Project Ara will not work for two reasons: Where Google puts her hand this will screw up and I think this will not work for Smartphones.
For modular devices to succeed they must be cost competitive. The advantage of building your own PC is that the cost is reasonable. If the cost of purchasing (and then later upgrading) a modular mobile device is not competitive with the cost of replacing entire non-modular devices (as they becomes obsolete), then there isn’t much value in it beyond the waste reduction/recycling aspect.
Seems like a lot of hype built upon the hype that Ara has already generated. Not a lot of talk about how they will do the hard bits though. And there are some hard bits.
Those are the bits Google is actually working on.
Interesting thing about Ara and the technology framework they are developing for it is that they and everyone else keeps saying it’s a phone. But what if I don’t put a phone module in it? And what if I replace the battery module with a plug in power module? Do I then have an Android buddy box?
I’d say Google isn’t so much working on a modular phone as they are working on a revolutionary way for personal electronics to be produced and consumed. A super modularity to replace the current monolithic paradigm.
I got to say that other companies are really simplifying this. Not alot of modules to swap. Project Ara on the other hand is very complex. Google needs to have its own store or partner with someone when they release Ara in the U.S since the general consumer will not know what to do
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