I believe this project has potential, but I wonder will this end up being limited to pre-pay as I am certain that carriers in the U.S. will not want to support a phone that does not continuously lock customers into new 2 year contracts. As a Verizon customer that is "grandfathered" into unlimited data I have no choice but to purchase a phone at full price in order to keep my contract "as-is", but Verizon would be more than happy to get me to upgrade my phone with a new contract as that is more lucrative for them. For people like me this has plenty of potential as I know some of us are tired of paying full price for new phones as the older ones get less support and become more of a brick than a phone due to old batteries, outdated hardware, as well as software.
Although not a Google or "wearable" fan, I do like the modular concept and scalable adaptability. Especially as mobile devices have become more powerful and are assuming more of our digital workload. I'd like a module tether/dongle (HDMI, KB, mouse)so my device might accommodate my low vision ADA requirements. I rarely if ever use a camera except as a scanning device for bar and QR. Never use the front facing cam! Rubberized and textured bumper exterior features would aid many of us with tactile challenges avoiding the case/sheath. The typical slick outer appearances look great in print ads, for what a week? Not so pretty after sliding under a bus seat or parking garage stall. As we're offered beefier OS options that will continue to mature. Imaging, swapping and backing up main storage as a module would be quicker and more secure for business/travel. This in addition to perhaps a dual SD module. Omitting an unused module (Bluetooth, GPS, camera) for a hot swappable aux. batteries would thrill me. A module for dual carriers or SIMs, or protocols. A reliable blood glucose testing module would allow me to leave a device behind. Interfaces for biometric, encryption, financial scanning, high efficiency audio (speakers), MIDI, automotive, biofeedback, ext. antennae, optical, image projection entertainment\game button appendage modules could be as endless as apps. Again Google does seem to be thinking of niche' specific use capabilities that could be vast for industrial, commercial, educational, instruments & consumer play toys. We've escalated to $600-$800 flashy disposable devices. The shrinking consumer treadmill that will saturate soon and will hit that "disproportionate" economic and ergonomic wall. Better have a plan "B" in the wings.
people think they want a modular phone.
they belive they would be able to keep it for longer but when the newer modular phone come out later thats improved slicker that fixed issues from previous version .you would still want to chuck it.
and if they really want to keep up with tech plug in modules will be inadequate.you wont upgrade whenever new modules come out anyway. you would wait a period just like now then upgrade a entire phone.
sniperx31, 18 Apr 2014This is the future of smartphone. Why?
-I damaged my Note2 last week (screen crashed, main bo... moreease of repair is the only advantage this thing have.
modularity make it less efficient ，less slick，less compact，less stable more likely to hamper future software support.
buying from manufacture is no issue. you still get options and expandability. you wont build a better phone using whatever module they give you. so see here you are still restrict by availability of modules.
do you really want a inferior phone just to have uncertaint level of future benefit and ease of repair？
This is the future of smartphone. Why?
-I damaged my Note2 last week (screen crashed, main board chip has been broken and these 2 component's price = phone price). If it had been modular, I would just buy a new screen and go back to my life. But I ended up buying a new Note2 and now I don't have the old phone's memory. Surely SD card saved data and living in the new phone. But something got lost!
-If you are not dumb enough to believe your phone will resist the daily life WITHOUT a proper cover (it can't; even titanium will get scratched when contacted by a metal zip or steel anything harshly), you already use your cover and don't even see the back of the phone. So, this LEGO like back is already invisible. Plus it is personalized to your taste.
-An HD screen is enough for me. But I need better cam (with OIS). More RAM and SD card. Someone may choose FullHD and pay more (but choose less RAM and save a little bit or even omit a camera and save even more).
Choices shape our life. Why only buy a phone which is given to us by OEM's? Build whatever you like with the components. GOOGLE THINKS GREAT!
How are people suppose want to buy this?
Its inferior to a regular phone in almost everyway.
so what is the point upgrading it later if it'd never be as slick as a regular phone.
What a flawed and backward thinking this concept is.
Phone become compact and integrated with tech and feature because consumers favor it.
buying a modular phone and hoping it can keep up with the rest of world year after year is nonsense. Technology change and move too fast for this(keeping a modular phone for up to 6 years) to make sense.
Hint for failing HTC:
Get on the Ara project ASAP!
As for those comments that think this won't be cheap!
Yes, you are correct! Initial purchase of all the modules + skeleton really won't be cheap. But in three months where a new CPU/camera/WiFi standard/4G/bigger SD space/... will be introduced, you can easily buy a new module for that and sell your old one and save big money. But of course majority of people won't swap their modules every few months, but every few years!
In the end... we will see how this project pans out.
I hope for the best!
Jabongga, 17 Apr 2014I really feel sorry for a lot of people here who are skeptical about this project, because obv... moreYou're thinking completely backwards. Samsung, LG, HTC, and Sony don't want to share revenue with other companies and therefore want to sell phones as a whole package. Unless the modules are significantly expensive enough to pull in enough revenues as selling whole phone, the large OEMs will not do it. Again, if you think phone parts other than the screens break a lot, then you are so wrong.
Again, skeptics like me are not against the project. But I'm a realist and see this project unsustainable in the currently market.
Anyway, it seems you have read some of my comments but read none completely.
If phone are not already so slick, powerful and affordable there might be a point for this modular concept.
people like their annual coming out of fresh new phone.plus an integrated phone will always perform and look better than a modular phone.
I really feel sorry for a lot of people here who are skeptical about this project, because obviously youre not.thinking clearly.
1) The PC industry was VERY SUCCESSFUL, and so shall this be. Dont give me the 'THE MOBILE AND PC INDUSTRIES ARE DIFFERENT' crap, bec they arent. theyre totally identical. yManufacturers followed the IBM compatible standard bec it was where the largest market was. Apple lost bec of that..history will probably repeat itself soon.
2) Where talking about google, a company with vast resources at its disposal. They will release.the product when its perfect and ready.
3) Large OEMs like Samsung, LG, Sony will probably be resistant initially due to smaller income generatedby module manufacturing, but they will be forced to follow eventually. If they dont participate, Google will go to other large manufacturers who dont have much marketshare at the mobile industry and want to penetrate it. A good Example would be giants like Intel and AMD (for the SoC). Samsung would be forced to compete their Exynos SoC. We do know Mediatek also wants a larger market, and ARM wont ignore this opportunity as well. Thousands of small manufacturers will at last be able to compete directly at the mobile markets, which in turn creates diversity, which in turn makes the device more popular and eventually gain the popularity of the PC. When this happens, Large OEMs would then want a piece of the pie...
4) The endoskeleton is at some point future proof (in terms of connection/bandwidth speed, they gave it a pretty big allowance) as discussed if you do your research...and its also standardized obviously, duh!
5) Some people say only "Gamers" upgrade or change parts for their PC..how dumb is that? Broken parts necessitates part replacement. People who love technology always want to be updated on gadgets may opt to replace parts every once in a while. Mobile phones become more useful due to modules that will be created other than the basic phone functions. who wouldnt want that? I bet no one. Im betting even skeptics would also want that...
5) Those who say that large OEMs would not benefit due to small profits is ridiculous. They might even benefit more. Samsung for example, can maintain their Galaxy Line of phones, and at the same time sell Samsung modules. We do know that Android OS for modular phones are completely different from current phones. So technically, its a different market. Samsung would actually earn from another market..who wouldnt want AMOLED screens for their Ara phones??
TDMaster, 17 Apr 2014WOW ppl comments are so lame.. first stop complaning its not like ur working in Google and kno... moreThis will be buried by the other tech giants for economical purposes. The "latest" ARA modules will have outdated specs and a few will buy them.
These modules musn't limited to camera and other auxiliary equipment. The whole RAM module has to be taken out by the user in case of a failure and could be used in another similar phone (or even would be readable by a USB adapter on a PC). Or even better than that both main RAM and ext. SD card has to be Micro SD cards! CPU & GPU holding mainboard replacament would be even better. As seen practically the limit is sky! Dream on and do it.
WOW ppl comments are so lame.. first stop complaning its not like ur working in Google and know their future plans.
plus finally some new innovation unlike Apple that "innovate" in every new phone.
every project has downfalls and no1 told u to buy it if u dont like it.
AgeOfMobile, 17 Apr 2014It's funny how a lot of the readers here are underesrimating Google and technology itself. Whi... moreI don't underestimate Google's ability to carry out this project. I just don't think it's even profitable for the OEMs to support this. That is completely out of Google's hands.
In order for this to work efficiently, all the modules need to be standardized. When that rule is in effect, there would be duopoly competition e.g. Intel and AMD, Nvidia and AMD. It doesn't leave much room for more than 2-3 OEMs.
Why would OEMs like Samsung, Apple, HTC, Sony resort to selling parts which will result in fraction of revenues compared to selling a complete phone? They would never do something like that.
Anonymous, 17 Apr 2014i agree with the most part of this. the end comment is kinda irrelevant though as it's not ab... moreOnly people who upgrade their computers regularly are hardcore gamers and programmers who need top of the line computers. And definitely that is not very large number. Notice I said "hardcore gamers". I do game on my PC but I don't upgrade my PC more than once every 3 years.
I said people who build their PC because they are more likely to "upgrade" their PC. I find that it's really rare to find people who upgrade their PC after buying a pre-assembled one.
Anonymous, 17 Apr 2014This might be the "last phone" you ever need. Pretty sure most phone company will be... moreit won't be because sooner or later the technology will become obsolete. manufacturer will make money from the parts it sells. In some ways, it will benefit them because now people could upgrade their phone in less than 2 years depending on what they need.