Have you ever owned a smartphone and wished it could do something a little more? You may be a mobile user who texts their friends and spends most of their time checking out their emails and social networks and rarely ever even touches their camera. Perhaps you simply use your phone for business purposes implementing a wide range of useful work-based apps to assist with your working week. Either way wouldn’t it be advantageous to simply be able to custom design every aspect of your phone giving it a truly personal touch? That that is exactly what Google’s promising Project Ara mission is hoping to bring to the masses.
Project Ara is set to be a new and interesting way in which we deal the built-in technologies associated with our smartphones. The concept involves a central endoskeleton form which will provide some of the more basic phone functions that we are most commonly used to. For here it would be entirely up to you what additional modules you would like to attach to your phone. The endoskeleton will consist of 12 separate ports for you to connect your preferred modules, such as the processor, battery, camera etc. You will effectively be building your own phone tailor made to your requirements using a simple selection in a mix and match manner. Years back there was plenty of excitement that phone owners could swap and customise their devices look with changeable cases and fascias, and with the Project Ara the entire phone could be built from scratch to suit your needs.
Potentially it is a huge idea that could simply change the way in which we deal with the future of smartphones. With regards to the issues that many smartphones still suffer from time to time, imagine the convenience of simply purchasing a replacement or upgraded module instead of having to take your entire phone in to repair just to resolve a problem. Worse still it could help you from having to purchase an entirely brand new phone simply because one of two of its main features happens to no longer function correctly.
So in terms of detachable modules what exactly can we expect to see and how beneficial will it be from a user’s point of view? You may think that carrying around a custom smartphone with a heap of add-on modules could be a bit of a pain in the neck but if the device comes to fruition then we’re sure it won’t be too long before smartphone accessories will be developed to accommodate this. The design of such as special module carry kit, or dual phone and module carry case could be developed to ensure that all the loose pieces don’t get damaged from just sitting around in your pockets and could help stop them completely from getting lost.
We mentioned camera and battery modules, but there is practically an endless array of would-be features that could be developed for a device such as this to help enhance the owner’s experience. Imagine begin able to buy and clip-on special infra-red cameras, health related applications, add-on sensors, more powerful camera lenses, batteries with more juice, louder speakers, touch pads, scanners, more phone memory and even individual gaming modules to help improve your mobile game playing experiences.
From a manufacturers point of view it’s also a huge opportunity in which to help broaden their output and begin creating a number of different compatible modules concentrating the functionality for each single piece as opposed to building around everything else that is already in place. If Project Ara and the inevitable copycat devices that follow do hit the ground running then it will certainly have a huge impact on the mobile market and could even have a notable affect on the sale of standard smartphones so it will definitely pay for manufacturers and developers to keep up to speed with the tech. Companies such as Mobilephonesdirect.co.uk will then soon find themselves stocking a volley of new modules as the demand for the modular mobile increases.
It’s all very exciting stuff. However, what is crucial is the fact of compatibility. Swapping out small pieces of hardware could affect how other modules run. Certain pieces may not physically fit alongside others nor may they actually be able to function. The last thing a user wants to spend his or her time doing is attaching and removing endless pieces of their phone like a jigsaw puzzle until everything comes together and works. Else they will simply be driving consumers back to their old all-in-one ready to go smartphones. From a technical point of view there needs to be some very simple coding basics and must-do’s that will need to be implemented to help address such compatibility issues further down the line.
The very concept of modular smartphones is still a very long way off, but it is certainly an intriguing one none the less.