How often have you watched a film and grown jealous of the technology? No matter how up to date or new your personal smartphone or device may be it never seems to do what you see in the movies, or for that matter, exactly what you need it to do. That time may have passed; phone envy may soon become a thing of the past.
Project Ara from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group is set to revolutionise how we choose and purchase mobile phones. Dealing with contracts and other mobile deals with the likes of Mobile Phones Direct will have to evolve also. As the next great leap forward this new development surrounds one very simple, yet extraordinarily intuitive concept. Currently, as a customer you select your basic smartphone loaded with predetermined software from whichever manufacturer you prefer or remain fiercely loyal to. Then you proceed to fill the phone’s memory with all manner of useful and useless applications that in theory improve your phone. Project Ara actually allows you to create what is known as a modular smartphone that can be tailored and refined to your specific needs. Simply put, you would be able to create your own unique piece of technology.
Built around a central endoskeleton that carries basic telephone functions you would select and purchase modules from a vast array of options. These “building blocks” make up the wider functions of the phone from the camera to the music device. To get some idea of how this works, imagine building a phone from Lego. You would start with the base and then slowly, piece by piece add different coloured blocks until you had a shape that resembled a phone. If you also imagine that each differently coloured block represents an individual module or function then you will have a good idea of how Project Ara works. Clearly the options and scope for development are endless as each simple change of modules creates an entirely new phone.
The whole concept becomes more exciting still when you consider the potential. From Monday to Friday your phone can be configured to fit in with a hectic working schedule, utilising planners and other relevant modules. At the weekend or on holiday your smartphone could then be made up of camera or video modules, allowing for more complete multi-use from one basic device.
It is perhaps difficult to fully appreciate how much of an impact Project Ara could have on the technology market, and on the world as a whole. Not since the very first smartphone has a new piece of hardware or software come along that not only threatens to make instantly redundant any existing competition, but promises to deliver a service and experience to customers that is quite simply beyond compare. How successful Project Ara is may well depend on the strength and compatibility of the modules and how many external manufacturers come on board. One thing is certain though; there have been several significant advancements in mobile technology in what is a very short space of time since the very first phone was released into a suspicious and unsuspecting world. Project Ara will definitely be the next, and could well be the most important.