HOME > CONSUMER > COMPUTERS > Google Project Ara to soon release modular smartphone, not tablet; could surprise on price

Google Project Ara to soon release modular smartphone, not tablet; could surprise on price

-lg-g5-modular-smartphone
LG G5 with its ‘cam module’ attached


Google could release one of world’s first truly modular mobile device — one with user-replaceable parts — as early as next month and it won’t be a tablet, but a smartphone, according to person close to the company’s Project Ara unit.

“People are saying it’s a tablet because a benchmarking site said the screen size was 13.8,” the person said. “It is indeed 13.8, but in centermeters, not in inches,” he added.

It was back in early February that reports came out that the first device from Google under the project will be a tablet, and that the screen size would be 13.8 inch. This had led to a lot of disappointment from tech enthusiasts who were banking on the search giant to finally crack the ‘upgrade’ problem around smartphones.GOOGLE-project-ara

“It would be funny it was 13.8 inches.. even laptops are smaller than that,” the person quoted above said.

Google has previously confirmed that the Ara device will be launched this year, with speculation rife that it could be launched during the Google IO developer event in May.

AFFORDABLY MODULAR?

The most innovative aspect of the modular phone will of course be its modular nature.

In other words, the device will have various ‘modules’ — such as one for the camera, one for the display, one for the processor, RAM and radio — much like a PC.

One of the advantages of a traditional PC architecture — particularly for desktops and mini-PCs — is the ease with which its parts can be replaced or upgraded.

araIf, for example, a user feels like having more power, he can replace the microprocessor without having to also buy a new hard-disk, RAM, display, power supply unit and so on. Similarly, the memory can be upgraded without spending money on the CPU.

In case of phones, this is not possible due to the way everything is assembled together to save space. Components are usually compactly soldered or even etched to the main board and it’s impossible to replace the parts without running the risk of ‘bricking’ the phone.

As a result, a phone is as up-to-date as its oldest component,  and people are forced to buy a new device when they want a device with more memory, or a better camera or more processing power.

Google’s Project Ara phone will address this problem, giving the user an option to swap core units like the CPU and camera module.

Of course, the degree of ‘swappability’ won’t be of the same degree as a desktop as phones are built around SoCs or systems on chips. These SoCs, known by names such as Helio X20, Snapdragon 820 and so on, are mini-systems in themselves and contain — in addition to a core application processor — also the graphics processor and the phone’s radio components such as GSM/LTE modems, a bluetooth module, WLAN and so on.

Still, Project Ara would allow for swapping of basic components such as cameras.

South Korea-based LG Electronics has already made some advancements in introducing modular smartphones with its LG G5 device unveiled last month.

The G5 allows a user to remove the bottom of the phone and insert other modules — such as its custom-built Hi-Fi Plus DAC module or a Cam Plus module. However, Project Ara would go beyond the G5 in its swappability.

Though the benchmarks indicated a configuration of including a Snapdragon 810 processor, 3 GB of RAM and a 5 MP camera on the front, for Ara — these specifications make no sense as they can change for each unit depending on the customer’s preferences.

As a result, an exact pricing will also be difficult to predict. However, there is likely to be a ‘base’ price for the overall structure which would be very low — around $120 or so — which would rise as a user adds specific components to the structure.

What, however, remains to be seen is whether Google can overcome the biggest challenge in designing a modular smartphone — keeping the size and the looks under control. The phone is likely to be first launched in the US.
[socialpoll id=”2345387″]

Follow ULTRA.news
Google will create an iPhone rival with Pixel – expert Google was forced to enter the smartphone hardware business as makers of Android smartphones have largely failed to develop a product that can compete against the iPhone, an industry expert said, adding that the result of union could rival what Apple has to offer."With tight...
HTC U11 smartphone to get a price cut under Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale HTC U11, the Taiwanese company's come-back model, is all set to get an unspecified price cut under Flipkart's Big Billion Days mobile sale that starts tomorrow at midnight.The online portal is teasing a price cut without revealing the extent of the cut.The current price ...
OnePlus 5 to face competition from Helio X30-powered Meizu Pro 7 in India with Amoled QHD OnePlus 5, arguably the most successful high-end phone in India, is set to face some competition from Meizu Pro 7 Plus, which is now likely to the first phone to come with the advanced 10-nm Helio X30 chipset in India.Meizu has so far focused on the mid-range 10,000-rupee mark...
OnePlus 5 with 8GB RAM starts selling on Amazon India OnePlus, the Chinese smartphone maker, said it has started selling the 8GB version of its flagship phone on Amazon from today as part of its "Super Seller Week" on Amazon.The event will last till 25th August.There will also be some offers on the regular OnePlus 5 and OneP...
Xiaomi sells half a crore Redmi Note 4 so far Even as attempts are made to lower the consumption of Chinese products in India by a section of the population, Xiaomi said it has sold 50 lakh units of Redmi Note 4 smartphone in India in six months.A total of 100 mln smartphones are expected to sell in India in 2017, and go...
Xiaomi to launch Redmi Note 4X in India this Friday? Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi indicated that it is going to launch the Redmi Note 4X, the slightly modified version of the 'non-X' model, in India on Friday.64 GB Redmi 4XIt released a teaser video indicating the launch (see below).The model was launched in China i...
Indians frantically search for peacock mating data after judge’s remark Search trendsComments by a High Court judge on the odd mating habits of peacocks has given rise to a frenzy of searches on Google from citizens curious to know more about the subject.From practically nothing, the number of searches on the topic 'peacock mating' has explo...
Samsung Galaxy J2 beats Redmi Note 3 & 4 as most popular smartphone in India Samsung J2 is the most widely used smartphone in IndiaThe humble Samsung Galaxy J2, launched two years ago, is the most widely used smartphone in India, beating hot-selling models like Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 & 4 CyberMedia Research said.Samsung J2 is the most widely used smartp...
Google to train six more Indian start-ups in San Francisco Google has selected six Indian Startups for the fourth class of its 'Launchpad Accelerator' program, including RailYatri, RecipeBook and FastFilmz.In the six months program, they will undergo intensive mentoring from 20+ teams across Google and mentors from top technology...
Xiaomi at No.2, overtakes Vivo, Oppo in Indian smartphone market Xiaomi has emerged as the second biggest smartphone brand in India after Samsung as its smash hit Redmi Note 4 broke sales records, according to market share numbers for the first three months of the year.The numbers also revealed that for the first time in eight years, t...
Redmi 4: Has Xiaomi forgotten the value-for-money proposition? Xiaomi today launched the Redmi 4 -- its 'entry level' model with a 5-inch display, but a deeper look at the phone's pricing reveals that the company may be moving away from its initial positioning as a value for money brand.At first glance, the device appears to be a true-bl...
Micromax Evok Note is no competitor for Redmi Note 4 Micromax Evok NoteMicromax has unveiled an online-only, affordably priced mid-range phone in the form of Evok Note, and comparisons are already been drawn between the 5.5-inch phone and the highest-selling phone of 2017 - Xiaomi Redmi Note 4.While the two phones do indeed ha...
Redmi Note 4 Black coming to India on Mar 1 Xiaomi has announced that the sought-after black-color version of its successful Redmi Note 4 smartphone will be sold in India for the first time on March 1.The non-availability of the black variant has been a big grouse with Xiaomi fans in India.The Note 4 was started se...
LENOVO K7 NOTE, with Snapdragon 625, to take on Redmi Note 4 in India Upcoming Lenovo K7 NoteTwo months after the launch of its latest mid-range phone, the Lenovo K6 Note, the Chinese smartphone brand is ready to unveil its next mid range model and the competitor to the successful Redmi Note 4"Something more noteworthy is coming soon," the...
Redmi Note 4 sets new record with 2.5 lakh phones sold in 1 flash sale Redmi Note 4, this year's successor to the most popular phone of 2016, has got off to an unbelievable start.The Chinese company sold a whopping 2.5 lakh (250,000) phones in the first flash sale itself, and that too in under 10 minutes.The previous record for the highe...
Redmi Note 4 is great, but can Xiaomi deliver the stock for flash sale?  Xiaomi seems to have yet delivered yet another winner in the form of the upgraded Redmi Note 4, launched in India today.The phone, priced at Rs 12,999 for the 4GB + 64GB variant, is arguably the most value for money phone in the market today.It also launched...
Rs 12,999 gets you Redmi Note 4 with 14 nm Snapdragon 625, 4GB RAM, better camera Redmi Note 4 has scored a small coup in the mid-range smartphone market in India by introducing the Snapdragon 625 chipset with 14 nm technology."This is the debut of the Snapdragon 625-enabled Note 4.. It's coming first to India, and is not available even in China," said the...
LIVE STREAM – Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 India Launch Xiaomi is streaming the unveiling of its latest mid-range smartphone, the Redmi Note 4, via Youtube.It will not be streaming the event live on Facebook or Twitter, but only via a Youtube link. UPDATE: The phone has been priced at Rs 12,999 for the 4+64 GB version, Rs 10,9...
Lenovo P2 priced at Rs 17,999 for 4 GB variant, higher than expected Lenovo's latest smartphone in India, the P2, has been launched at Rs 17,999 for the 4 GB version, which is about Rs 2,000 more than the expected price.A cheaper option, at Rs 16,999, will also be available on Flipkart, but will come with only 3 GB of RAM.The pricing m...
At Rs 18k, Lenovo P2 is no challenger for Redmi Note 4 Lenovo is all set to kick off the 14 nm revolution in India with the launch of its P2, the successor to the no-so-hot-selling P1.The P series phones are 'upper mid range' devices priced around Rs 16,000 -- or about 25% higher than the company's K series devices.While the ...
CoolPad Cool 1 to be launched in India on Wednesday, price 11k expected Coolpad and its parent LeEco will launch the much-anticipated mid-range smartphone Cool 1 in India on Wednesday at a starting price of around Rs 11,000.The phone was launched in Chine in late August, and the company has taken four months to make it available in its second big...
HTC Desire 10 Pro launched in India at Rs 26,490 price HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone brand, has launched the 'pro' version of its Desire 10 phone in India at a price of Rs 26,490.The phone is available on preorder with some vendors.As expected, the new model is far from value for money, and is unlikely to be a big hit. ...
Flipkart to sell OnePlus 3 with huge discount; Company says not done! Flipkart, the homegrown ecommerce giant, has listed OnePlus 3 as one of the prominent mobile deals being offered under its 'Big Shopping Days' sale to be held from Saturday, Dec 17 onwards.It has also put up a 'coming soon' page for the sought-after smartphone model.H...
Why Lenovo K6 Note makes little sense vs K5 Lenovo has chosen to launch the K6 Note via the offline channel in India and will unveil the official price of the model on Wednesday.Though the model would have been priced around the Rs 12,000 mark via online sales channels, it is now likely to be priced higher at aroun...
Lenovo issues VoLTE update for K5, Plus and Note with Reliance Jio support Three months after Reliance Jio started giving out free connections, Lenovo -- the biggest online smartphone brand in India -- has started pushing out VoLTE update to those who bought its last generation phones - the K5, and its Note and Plus variants.Out of these, at least...