Project Ara is an experimental project to develop a modular smartphone that lets you upgrade components without throwing out the whole phone or add new modules to increase functionality without buying a new device.

Initially developed as a concept by Motorola, the team behind Project Ara are now working at Google while Lenovo is in the process of acquiring more of Motorola’s assets.

So what does Google plan to do with Project Ara? We’ll start to find out in mid-April. That’s when the company is holding the first of three Ara-related conferences in 2014.

Project Ara

At the first conference on April 15th and 16th, Google plans to introduce the Ara Module Developer’s Kit, or MDK. This is a platform anyone can use to develop a module for Ara.

Oh yeah, there’s also now an actual prototype for the modular device to supplement the rendered images we saw in October.

While a small number of folks will be invited to attend the conference in Mountain View, California, this will primarily be an online conference, which means it’ll be accessible to anyone who can tune into the webstream. 

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7 replies on “Google’s Project Ara dev conference in April to focus on modular phone”

    1. if it can be developed into a mass produced comercial product, it might just be the smartest idea ever.

      1. Not likey since the carriers would rather sell you another phone, another charger, anothe case…etc.

        1. I assume you’re from the US, where you have GSM and CDMA networks with also incompatible LTE bands.

          Here in Europe, Germany specifically, ALL networks are GSM+LTE, EVERY phone sold works on EVERY carrier.

          And while you certainly CAN go to any carrier and ask “what phones do you guys offer subsedized on contract?” the far more comon aproach is to walk into a “Best Buy equivalent” electronics store, select a phone that ticles your fancy and either walk out of the store with it and pop in your simcard of choice, and if you can’t afford the phone up front you can get payment plans with monthly installments directly from the store.

          Alternatively you can also ask a sales clerk to find the carrier and plan that best works for you and get the phone you already picked out subsedized by the carrier the clerk helped you pick.

          So in this type of buyers market we have over here, getting new components for your non carrier tied phone looks to be vastly better than getting a new non carrier tied phone every so often.

          1. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to get out of this redneck dump of a country and move to a first-world nation…

          2. An improvement if you’re an average person, a downgrade if you’re filthy rich.

            The US is an excelent country for running a business, paying taxes, education or healthcare if money is largely not an issue for you, if you’re an average person however, you’re being screwed over.

            Germany again as an example. We have free healthcare. If your co-payments for meds exceed 50 EUROs ANNUALY, you can get the difference back from your healthcare provider and a special ID-Card you can show in any pharmacy or physical therapy center that excludes you from having to even make any co-payments up front anymore for the rest of the year.

            On the subject of education – College Attendence is completely free and Universities have no tuition fees. There is a semester contribution of 280 EUROs in the Captial of Berlin where i live. However, that includes public transport tickets that would cost you 97 EUROs monthly, so going to university saves you 11 EUROs a semester on public transportation instead of costing you extra money, other countries in europe even go a step furhter. In Sweden for example students get payed the equivalent of $187 monthly to attend school, before their 18th birthday that is payed to their parents, at 18 they get the money directly.

    2. This is nonsense. It is a great idea. The question is only if it is actually viable (cost-wise and technically).

      I would definitely like an upgradeable phone. My Note3 has a great display which will not need an upgrade in the foreseeable future (unless I acquire some kind of super-vision). It will however, need an upgrade in the processor and memory departments since SOC development is still feverish and 64bit ARM SOCs are at the corner.

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