After recurring failures during previous demonstrations of Project Ara prototype Smartphone – quite an ambitious project from Google Inc. (NADAQ:GOOGL) – the latest prototype seems to have created quite a buzz in the industry. While the first prototype reportedly couldn’t boot because of a broken screen the second though managed to boot, froze seconds later. The fully functional final version of Spiral1 prototype was recently showcased at Engadget’s New York event and a video of the working prototype was also released by Phonebloks. The video showcased the device running the popular game Angry Birds and played the Disney Animation movie Beauty and the Beast. But the most interesting thing was the various modules on the device were being swapped in and out without the need to meddle with the battery. The device was live all the while modules were being swapped, because it comes with an app which allows users to turn off the magnet for the desired module so that they can be removed or inserted.
Another interesting dimension of Project Ara devices is that they can not only incorporate standard chips for processor, battery, camera or communications but as demonstrated in the Engadget event it is even possible to replace a module with a heartbeat scanner. In another display at the same event, Paul Eremenko, head of Google’s Project Ara, displayed the module being replaced by a Pulse Oximeter (a device used to measure oxygen content in the blood). This opens up a huge avenue for modernizing the future of health services. With real-time monitoring of essential health parameters, many adversities can be averted if Project Ara is a success. Things have been set in motion for Project Ara with the latest prototype and to continue with the momentum, Google is organizing the second lap of Project Ara Developers Conferences. Indicating that Google wants to join hands with developers worldwide, the conference is being rolled out in two phases. The first one will be a conference in Mountain View on January 14 2015, followed by second in Singapore on January 21. With satellite sites in NYC, Buenos Aires, and London, and in Bangalore, Tokyo, Taipei, and Shanghai developers can get together in Google’s offices to participate in the conferences.
Success of Project Ara: Will it pave the path for a new era in the technological world?
A lot of speculation is on as to what the success of Project Ara means for the industry. How is it going to impact the moguls of the mobile industry and is it going to initiate a radical change forcing the industry to morph into something entirely different from how we know it now? One thing which is absolutely inevitable if Ara succeeds; is the big players will need to come out of their comfort zones and get their feet in the mud to ward of the strong competition? Google is aiming at including more and more startups in Project Ara and this will be a fair deal for both the parties. As startups won’t have to bear the added expense of getting new phones or software for testing their products and the ingenuity of the proposed ideas will act as a power house for Project Ara. As the entire approach is modular, Google can develop various kinds of modules to fit within the devices with the help of startups. So the key players like Samsung, HTC, Lenovo might look forward to acquire some of the smaller fishes in the market and take a plunge into the modular game. While players like Xiaomi might shift their focus towards manufacturing of modules instead of entire handsets. It is also to be seen if Google comes up with a newer version of Android for Project Ara devices or will the devices run on an entirely different OS. Some players have already anticipated the situation and there are indications of a probable rival for Project Ara in the market.
It is also to be seen if Google comes up with a newer version of Android for Project Ara devices or will the devices run on an entirely different OS. Some players have already anticipated the situation and there are indications of a probable rival for Project Ara in the market. Vsenn, apparently a new kid on the block, has plans to come up with a device which will not be entirely customizable or modular but shall have swappable modules for camera, battery and processor (RAM). The scenario might change very drastically and swiftly in the given years but everything rides on the success of Project Ara. Well, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed. Here is the video of Google’s Paul Eremenko, showcasing the latest version of Ara Phone: