Google is trying to spread its wings to more than just its popular “bread and butter” in online search. It has delved into other projects such as the Android mobile OS platform that has become the main competitor of iOS devices for attention among mobile users. It seems that the online search giant is trying to stretch its influence further. It is tackling a new project to create modular mobile phones aimed for mobile users in emerging and developing countries. That is why it started the Ara Project sometime last year.
The Project Ara initiative took another step further by having a third-party manufacturer introduce some of the very first modules to built a modular mobile phone. US firm Yezz presented several prototypes of phone modules at the recent Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain. The company is the first of Google’s Project Ara partners to introduce the modular phone parts to the public.
The mobile phone modules that Yezz recently introduced included a base structure from which, several other square magnetic modular parts can be attached. Different modules for the screen, battery, camera speakers and others were also on exhibit that can be attached to the base structure of the phone. Google plans to release the modular phones in three sizes.
Using this modular concept, it will be possible for people to replace the individual components of the modular phone as new and better options become available. This prevents users from throwing away an old mobile phone altogether. They only need to upgrade or replace the modular parts that need upgrading or replacement.
Eventually, this option will help people avoid buying new phones and throw away old ones that end up as trash, helping the environment in the process. It will also help drive mobile phone prices down if successful, providing users with options changing modular phone parts at a fraction of a cost instead of buying new mobile phones year after year. This will especially be an attractive concept for emerging markets for mobile phone, countries that are just finding its way to purchasing mobile phones at a more affordable price point.
The idea of a modular phone may capture the interest of gadget savvy consumers at the initial stages. Once more and more partners come in to join the initiative, Google hopes that it will eventually make smartphones more affordable, introducing more consumers from emerging markets to have access to the World Wide Web through their modular mobile phones. It may also present a worthy challenge for many of today’s mobile phone makers in future untapped markets.
Now that modular prototype parts are available, Google plans to test launch the device in Puerto Rico by yearend. Only then will we definitely know if people will catch up to the idea of having a modular mobile phone.