At the Launch technology conference last week, a member of Google’s Project Ara team showed a non-working concept version of the modular phone, and revealed a few more details about the device. Announced in October last year, Project Ara began life with Motorola, but Google retained the rights to it after selling the company to Lenovo.
Now named Google Ara, this was our first in-depth look at how the modular phone will work. Modules containing key phone components are slotted on to an endoskeleton, shortened to Endo in the presentation, and held in place using magnets. The modules could contain a camera, battery, memory, or the screen itself.
It was revealed Google wants to build three different size Ara phones. A Mini version may have a screen around 4-inches, a mid-scale model a 5-inch display, and a larger hybrid model with an even bigger screen. The endoskeleton could cost around $15 to buy without any components, but as they’ll all swap between each other, you’ll be able to select which screen size is most appropriate, then transfer everything across with a small plug-in module. A Wi-Fi only Ara with basic components could cost around $50.
There’s still some time to go before an Ara phone goes on sale. In April this year Google will hold a developer conference, where everything from software to design will be discussed, before a launch next year. You can see the whole presentation in the video below, and the Google Ara section starts around 5-minutes in, lasting for nearly 25-minutes.