26
Feb
Ara-Thumb

Remember Project Ara? We haven't heard much about it since Motorola revealed its existence back in October, exciting us with the real possibility that one day we will be able to effectively build and customize phones to suit our tastes. As it turns out, the Advanced Technology and Projects team (now owned by Google) is still working full-steam ahead. Today they've announced the first Ara Developers' Conference, which will take place online from April 15 - 16th. Registrants will get to ask questions and participate via a live webstream, and a select few are invited to attend in-person at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

Ara2

The conference will focus on the alpha release of the Ara Module Developers' Kit, which will provide the tools developers need to develop an Ara module. It should appear in early April sometime before the conference, so people have time to familiarize themselves with it and prepare decent feedback.

Though the conference is aimed at developers, others are still welcome to view the live stream. Just register here to participate in the event. Online involvement is free, but there is a $100 fee to attend in-person (cut down to $25 for students).

Ara1

Source: Project Ara

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • morteum

    I wonder if Active Notifications will continue to be a part of it.

  • steve

    This would be really cool to check out. I've been using the dScout app to participate in some Ara stuff and that would be a cool way to see what is really going on!

  • Cory_S

    Interesting to see such obvious typos in a press release.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      It's an easter egg, maybe?

  • EH101

    Interesting, makes it seem as if Ara based devices could happen by late this year or next. I don't think they'd be releasing a dev kit unless they already solved how they're going to let the modules communicate and that, I believe, would've been the biggest hurdle. When you consider that a simple driver change can make a system unstable, this needs to be near fool-proof to be a consumer product. Exciting.

  • oilfieldcash

    I could see this blowing everything and anything out of the smartphone market... Apple will go back to being a tasty fruit.

    • Nathan Talbert

      Until Apple insists they invented it and sues everybody...

      • rose maryawn

        My Uncle Aiden got an almost new cream
        Lincoln MKS Sedan by working part time off of a laptop. have a peek here B­u­z­z­3­2­.­ℂ­o­m

      • Dude

        And this one.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Or people will see the name "Google" on the phone and will probably shy away from it in fear of their "privacy"

    • john

      Nah, there are millions of people - especially in the USA, who are mindlessly devoted to apple no matter what anyone else does.

      Murica!

      • Dude

        This on too, lol.

    • Dude

      The butthurt is strong with this one.

  • Eli McCrory

    I can't wait to see how this project plays out.

  • Sqube

    Finally gonna get an Android phone with 128GB of internal storage, eh? Cool.

  • AbbyZFresh

    They better make good use of those ex-Apple employees from Nest to help them make the Project Ara phones look good and function the way they want it to do. I don't trust them doing this alone.

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    Assuming this works, it potentially solves a lot of our problems. So many compromises go into building a smartphone for the mass market. With this, a lot of us can choose our own priorities. Sure, money can be saved, but we can also actively choose where to splurge instead.

    Not much of a photographer? Then why bother with a fancy camera when a basic one will do. Take a TON of photos? Then splurge on that component.
    Most people don't need massive amounts of storage, which is why 16GB phones are so common. But do you have crappy signal and a huge music library you like to keep on you? 128GB for you.
    High-res, battery-sapping screen just not worth the extra cost for you? Get yourself a simpler 720p. Digital artist? Get a 1080p with stylus and digitizer.
    Need extra security for your job? Add in a biometric sensor.
    Want active notifications and blacker blacks, and don't use your phone in the sunlight that much? Go AMOLED. Need to work outdoors a lot? Get an SLCD tuned for outdoor use.

    Assuming the push to have third-party accessory makers on board for all these components works, and the quality control is somehow managed to ensure compatibility and drivers and all of that are kept in line, the sky's the limit.

    When this was Phonebloks, I railed heavily against it, because their overall design seemed implausible. But with the changed Motorola/Google's made to the base connectivity and recognition of the limitations of that principle, and the distance they've taken the project so far, I'm definitely excited about it now. This could definitely explain why, if the rumors are true, the Nexus is dying. It becomes utterly unnecessary. Stock Android, and whatever hardware you darn well please.

    • abobobilly

      As much as i am excited to see Project Ara happening, i am afraid to see the "Software" side of the picture. Diverse hardware will mean larger software capabilities (drivers and all that), which could create a bit of trouble for developers when/if they see a huge diverse hardware in smartphones.

      For argument's sake ... look at Apple. Its iOS is strong because a hardware is tailor made for a specific iPhone, and then optimized for it. And ProjectAra-like thing happens with it, i can't imagine what they'll have to go through to keep the balance intact.

      Thats just a tiny bit of my thoughts layed down. I am sure my point is conveyed :)

      • Johnny Bravo

        You make a great point. Android will look nothing like a fragmented system compared to ARA.

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        I agree, which is why I included the caveat about compatibility and drivers.

        But still, at the end of the day, it's how all of our Windows computers are handled already. And that's with a legacy OS that's got decades of grime built into it. Android is fresher and newer, and leaning more and more toward compartmentalization.

        Honestly, I feel like this suggests a little bit about the direction Android may be going in general in order to further combat fragmentation and update issues. Already most of the core Android apps are moving to the Play Store and being updated outside of OS release cycles, and the Play Framework is as well. Google's efforts and goal here may be to make Android more drop-in than it used to be, able to adapt to different components more easily, and therefore resolving issues like this one. If the OS itself is designed to better adjust quickly to different hardware, as long as drivers are written and compiled properly for it, it may make pushing updates to devices in general a lot easier and resolve some of our overall fragmentation and update concerns. That system would therefore transition well to a device like this that's always in flux, with the OS designed to accept an always-surprising collection of hardware.

        There's no doubt this is a challenge, and I don't suggest it's an EASY one to overcome. But I do like the implications of building specifically toward overcoming it. They might be more wide-reaching than Project Ara.

      • Justin

        I don't think the software side will actually be too horrible. You have to imagine that all the Ara components are proprietary and therefore the software only has to support those specific components. Android already supports a diverse amount of hardware so there's not much difference here.

        • abobobilly

          Yes, but eventually, 3rd parties will also enter in this business and if i am not mistaken about Project Ara, there is no restriction about 3rd party components.

          Unless we are "sure" that only XYZ people are making the components for Ara devices, we can't be too sure about the nightmares of software side. But then some people might not like this "closed source" fact because lets face the fact, sometime a relatively "unknown" manufacturer can provide a much better product than the most known ones.

          If i have to give an example then we can look at the Yota device at MW2014, or even better, the Gionee device at MWC2014.

          I think a dev who have been working with Android (the OS itself) can lay better thoughts on this.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Let the smartphone revolution begin! Suck it, Apple

  • Stanley Chan

    I remember a start up of a module phone before this. I dont know its was a fake or not...

    Edit: it was block phone. I think it was fake.

  • Stanley Chan

    I remember a start up of a module phone before this. I dont know its was a fake or not...

    Edit: it was Phone Block. I think it was fake.

  • Nacarato

    LEGO, welcome to the game!

  • shashi shankar

    So Many versions of Androids & User interfaces & firmwares are developed which has not yet reached the maturity of working on all the integrated hardware.

    We are talking of modular hardware with this concept, which adds a different dimension to verifications needed before a hardware or a OS is launched on this platform. I am Curious & hopeful that Google brings something good here. All the very best .. Just dont want to have my OS crashing often :(

  • Joseph Donofry

    That first Ara graphic has a typo. Further, there are over 7 billion people worldwide... I think the 6 billion should be updated to reflect that.

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