2017 Tipped To Be The Year Of Modular Smartphones
2017 is tipped to be all about modular smartphones with Google set to release their “Lego” version.
Last month LG launched their modular G5 smartphone, next month Lenovo is tipped to also launch a modular Motorola smartphone, the move comes as manufacturers look to revitalise the smartphone market while delivering for consumer’s additional plug in benefits.
Project Ara, Google’s plan for a modular phone that you snap together like Legos, looked like it was never going to see the light of day.
But at Google’s developer conference over the weekend Google announced that it’s finally almost ready. Google said a developer edition would be shipping by the last quarter of 2016, and that a thinner consumer version would be shipping in 2017.
Project Ara works by providing a frame with open slots for swapping in and out little hardware modules. The modules are things like cameras, speakers, microphones, graphics accelerators, radios, sensors, or even medical devices like a glucose meter. This gives users a lot of choice for what functions they want their phone to provide.
Google listed a number of development partners working on these modules that range from giant manufactures to tiny hardware start-ups: Samsung, Panasonic, Micron, Toshiba, TDK, Wistron, E Ink, Toshiba, Harman, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, iHealth, BACTrack, goTenna and Cohero Health.
At a Project Ara developer conference in early 2015, Google said it’s convinced 50 developers to work on hardware modules for the phone, including chip makers Marvell, Nvidia and Rockchip.
Google has received a lot of attention for Project Ara. The idea of being able to buy modules to incrementally upgrade your phone could reduce a lot of unnecessary costs and waste associated with having the latest and greatest in smartphone technology.