Google and design company New Deal have floated a concept for a modular Android phone ecosystem called Project Ara that lets smartphone users swap modules (batteries, radios, cameras, screens, etc) around between “exoskeletons.”
The most obvious and immediate practical application of a modular phone is that if you drop the phone and shatter the screen, you can quickly and easily (and, hopefully, cheaply) swap in a new one. Or if your battery runs out and you’re away from a charger, just switch to a new one.
For ATAP and Google, the goal is to build a device that will make the smartphone accessible to the billions of people who can’t afford iPhones and Galaxy S5s.
They plan to release the first phone in less than a year, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, besides some great Project Ara eye candy, the Verge has a good breakdown of all the crazy phones you can make with Google’s Project Ara.