Google’s Project Ara $50 Modular Smartphone Could Change The Way We Buy Phones Starting Next Year

This is going to bring back the Hobbyist! The smartphone hobbyist, that is. I’ve always wished I could work on the intestines of my smartphone.

Beware cellphone retailers, it might just be the age of flexible hardware


Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Division just announced its first developer event for Project Ara, a modular smarpthone, yesterday, and a new follow-up profile by TIME indicates we could see the device come to market by next year, with a $50 price tag to start. The key phrase there is “to start,” however, as this smartphone with swappable components could get a lot pricier, very quickly.

Ara is designed to offer consumers choice, with an open platform design that provides a basic chassis from Google with, the option to customize functionality using modular components sourced from third-party hardware developers. Users could buy sensors, additional storage, more battery capacity, better speakers and so on, slotting in and out components as needed. Including stupid ones, by the way: project lead and DARPA vet Paul Eremenko tells TIME an “incense burner” could be a module

Google wants to get the price point…

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