Motorola Project Ara to bring $50 phones in Q1 2015, are competitors listening?
We are sure you have heard of the Google’s Project Ara lead by Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects group? This group is aiming to make devices (smartphones for now) that are fully customizable, that is you will be able to pick the choice of RAM, internal memort, case, processor, camera and more.
Sounds awesome right? It is indeed the next level of customizable phones (Moto X launched in 2013 is only the first step in this direction).
Recently Google sold its handset business of Motorola to Lenovo, but it did save the Project Ara for itself. The division working under its director Regina Dugan, “will continue their work as part of the Android team so that the entire Android ecosystem can benefit from their innovations” said spokesperson for Google in January last week as the deal happened. After that, it is today that some concrete information from the project is coming up.
According to an interview by Time Magazine of Paul Eremenko, the head of the project, the project is expected to have a functioning prototype ready within a few weeks and a commercial release by early next year. The project is today preparing for as the first Ara Developers’ Conference, that is to be held in April 15-16, 2014.
Eremenko also said that ATAP is finishing up work on a functioning prototype, which will be ready within weeks, with a version ready for commercial release in the first quarter of 2015.
The first expression of the modular concept Ara’s creators are focusing on is a smartphone with a target price of $50 that’s so basic it comes with only Wi-Fi, not a cellular connection, says the news report.
While Samsung, Sony and Apple are still busy with premium handsets, Motorola, Nokia and LG and now BlackBerer are stating to shift their focus to handsets that are friendly to pocket and offer better value for money. Moto X and G have been much appreciated and Nokia’s X handsets have also grabbed attention (though they are yet to come to the market).
It will be interesting to see how Google will make customizable handsets affordable and what options it will give to the customers.
Is that all on smartphones from Google”?
Google is lwo working on another project called Tango that revolves around 3D motion tracking on smartphones. The company has announced this new project that can offer “mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion”.
The company is ready with 200 prototypes of 5-inch display phones packed with customized hardware and software designed to track the full 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the environment. These Android powered devices has got sensors that “allow the phone to make over a quarter million 3D measurements every second, updating its position and orientation in real-time, combining that data into a single 3D model of the space around you".
It is looking for professional developers who can play with the device and has a “dream of creating more than a touch-screen app” for it.
Other such projects:
PhoneBlocs: Motorola is partnering with Phoneblocks concept of a customizable smartphone on the project. This project revolves around the idea for a mobile phone made up of detachable modules, called ‘bloks’. If one blok breaks or becomes obsolete, for example your phone is getting slow, you simply replace the ‘processor’ blok to increase your phones speed, keeping all the other bloks. This reduces waste by not having to throw away parts of your phone that are in perfect working order.
Xiomi Magic bricks: Xiomi is also working on a similar modular phone that will use each component as a detachable unit.
Eco Mobius: ZTE is working on a similar project called Eco Mobius which is a freely assembled and upgraded modular phone. The phone is divided into four independent modules: LCD, core, camera, and battery. The LCD module includes the screen and lens; the core module consists of a removable CPU, GPU, ROM and RAM and other electronic parts. The four modules can be easily disassembled and assembled through a sliding track design.
Here’s how to participate in the Ara Developers Conference:
The conference will take place throughout the year 2014. The conference will focus on the alpha release of the Ara Module Developers’ Kit (MDK). This MDK will be a free and open platform specification and reference implementation that contains everything you need to develop an Ara module. We expect that the MDK will be released online in early April.
The Developers’ Conference will be held online, with a live webstream and interactive Q&A capability. A limited number of participants will be able to attend in person at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
There is a $100 fee ($25 for students) for the in-person event. For this Google needs a short narrative articulating interest of the participant in Ara module development. If approved, participant will be asked to pay the registration fee within 48 hours.