The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review recently spent some time with the Project Ara development team and it seems like the modular phone has come a very long way. The team’s project leader, Paul Eremenko, says Google is providing the “endoskeleton” for all of the modules users can input. The amount of modules? Eight on the back and two up front. The two on the front will be for a display and a button panel in addition to power and data modules that use MIPI UniPro technology. And modules will not be clicking or snapping in. Magnets hold them into place.
The endoskeletons will be available in a few different sizes that match today’s devices. There will be phablet-sized endoskeletons and there will be MP3 music player-sized endoskeletons. And because modules are interchangeable, using your Project Ara device for a different purpose at any time is possible. One special module shown to the Technology Review was a pulse oximeter for measuring blood oxygen levels. So Project Ara can literally serve any field.
The Project Ara team plans on having a functional prototype finished this month. One route for Project Ara will be a release for basic devices in South America and surrounding areas. In those areas, people generally rely upon WiFi hotspots and do not pay for a data plan. So Google intends are putting together a Project Ara device that uses WiFi only in addition to a processor, display, and battery. Right now, the price would be $50.