Google’s highly anticipated smartphone, Project Ara, is finally set to launch later on this month after the company revealed that it will be trialled at its developer conference.
Unfortunately, the launch will be restricted to Puerto Rico, meaning that only people based in the Central American country will be able to get their hands on the device.
Project Ara will be the world’s first consumer focused modular smartphone which will allow users to effectively swap out features as and when they need them.
This means that you will actually start by paying just $50 (around £35) for the base model of the phone, which you will then add to by using modules, within which the price will vary.
Essentially, this could put an end to the constant upgrade cycle which most smartphone users go through every two years, as you’ll simply be able change to a higher end module rather than change device altogether.
Also, you’ll also be able to add features for specific tasks, so you may have one module which acts as a super-powered camera, which you’ll use only when taking professional style shots, and switch it out for a more standard lens when out and about.
Up to 30 different modules will be available to purchase on launch, with more and more being made as the phone takes off, allowing for each user to have a unique experience, to suit their own needs.
As we mentioned earlier, this month’s launch will only be available in Puerto Rico, and is designed to give the guys and girls at Google a chance to gather some real-life data on the handset’s performance.
The device itself runs the Android Operating system, most likely to be the latest Lollipop update, and will be sold through a truck which will be converted into a mobile store by Google.
When the device is fully launched later on this year, Google will also release an Ara Configuration app that will allow customers to buy the device along with a selection of different modules.
Each module also boasts a replaceable shell to allow for complete customisation, ensuring that each smartphone will be different on both the inside and the outside.
As more Ara phones are sold, it’s likely that more companies will begin working on modules to fit it, so we can expect to see some higher end versions like one terabyte hard drives and other more expensive features hit the market.
The general consensus surrounding Project Ara is that it could well be the future of our smartphones, and is thus very high on a lot of tech savvy consumers’ wish lists for 2015.
Of course, depending on how much success it sees at this month’s trial launch, it will likely dictate how long it will be before we see modular smartphones on UK shelves.
Written by Luke Hatfield