Google reveals new details about its plans for Project Ara modular smartphones

Google reveals new details about its plans for Project Ara modular smartphones

At its Project Ara developers' conference held in San Francisco on Tuesday, Google shared some new details about its plans for Project Ara --- the company's eagerly-anticipated Android-powered modular smartphone.

According to the details revealed at the conference, the Ara smartphone will be based on a metal frame which has been designed by Google. Outside developers will be able to slot their hardware "modules" into this frame. The "modules" will be held in place by electro-permanent magnets. The physical frame which will hold each "module" will be capable of lasting 5-6 years.

Going by Google's plans and estimates, the manufacturing cost of a basic Ara smartphone to the developers will be approximately $50. Depending on the consumers' individual requirements, new "modules" can be purchased from developers, either via an online marketplace or app store. The eventual retail price of the Ara handsets has not been officially disclosed.

Project Ara Chief Paul Eremenko said that the first Ara smartphones will likely be shipped in January 2015. Before the launch of the Ara smartphones, Google will update its Android software in December 2014, to include support for Ara's modular components.

Eremenko also revealed that the first Ara modular phone to be launched will be a generic "gray phone." Asserting that the phone will be intentionally designed to be "drab," Eremenko said that the key aim behind the "gray phone" is to encourage owners to be creative, and customize their devices.

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