Modular smartphones could be the next big thing in mobile thanks to Google’s Project Ara. What seemed like just a concept a few months ago, appears to be closer to reality now that Google has scheduled its first Project Ara Developer Conference. The big question is how much will it cost?
According to Google’s Paul Eremenko, the goal is $50. However, don’t get too excited just yet. As you know, Project Ara, is a modular smartphone, which means you will buy a bunch of parts to customize it the way you want. At $50, that would probably only include the actual frame of the phone, a screen, and a Wi-Fi radio. This would be called the “grayphone.” Then it will be up to you to buy other components such as the display, the CPU, the camera module, and so on.
So where would you buy these components? Most likely through normal retail channels, but a big goal is to have special kiosks similar to what you see for gaming systems like the PlayStation and Xbox.
There is still some time yet before we see these kiosks though. Google still has to work out issues with the FCC, plus a whole slew of design issues. The good news for consumers is that Eremenko said the goal is to make Ara great, not profitable. That means that it won’t be priced for just the rich.