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Google revives Project Ara, the modular Android smartphone

By Liu Hongzuo - on 23 May 2016, 3:14pm

Google revives Project Ara, the modular Android smartphone

It’s been nearly two years since we last heard about Google’s attempt at making a modular smartphone, and we thought it was all quiet until Google sprung the news of Project Ara’s revival at I/O 2016. This time, the modular smartphone comes with a vague shipping date.

Project Ara is a code name for a Google initiative that aims to create a highly modular smartphone. Unlike the LG G5, the Project Ara phone aims to be more flexible. The smartphone’s frame already comes with a CPU, GPU, antennas and sensors, battery, and display. By using a metal frame as the phone’s base, a user can choose to include or upgrade up to six other parts.

The announcement of Project Ara also confirmed that the phone is now under Google’s direct care, and it is no longer under the ATAP research unit – the research lab Google bought over from Motorola. The current hardware chief for Project Ara is Rick Osterloh, former Motorola president. The announcement also showed a prototype Project Ara phone, which allows live-swap of hardware modules, such as cameras and speakers.

Currently, Google expects the developer edition of the Project Ara smartphones to ship come Fall 2016 (that’s around August to October), and the commercial version will retail in 2017.

You can learn more about Project Ara on their official website here.