Google’s Project Ara…modular smartphone

Let’s take it from top. E waste is the term used for all discarded electronic devices. According to Greenpeace, three quarters of the computers sold in the US are stockpiled in garages and closets. When thrown away, they end up in landfills or incinerators or, more recently, are exported to Asia.
It is a hot issue for our sustainable living, and of course is something that Google has already spotted.

Project Ara  is a modular smartphone that will finally be released next year. It will be Google’s first phone, designed and manufactured by the tech giant.


The Android-powered phone will have a skeleton that houses all of the basic phone functions, including CPU, GPU, antennas, sensors, battery and display and then users can get creative with the modules they snap on and off. There is space on the phone for six regular size modules or 2 double-sized modules and 2 regular ones. The modules will include things like cameras, speakers, sensors and more.
Like an app store, there will be a marketplace for modules with an open API so that any developer can create a new one to be sold in the marketplace, after approval by Google. Google is also partnering with companies to develop a line of modules that will range from mundane things like an extra battery to more exciting things such as personal health and fitness monitors, glucometers for diabetics or air quality sensors.
The phone and modules are also supposed to be inexpensively priced so that it can be an accessible to people around the world.


Even though modular phones can be a bright sollution on the ewaste disposal, the man behind the first modular smartphone concept says that Google isn’t delivering what it initially promised — a truly modular phone.

Hakkens wrote in a blog post:“It basically means the Ara skeleton is a fully equipped phone with things like CPU, antennas, sensors, battery and display. The 6 little blocky modules on the back of the phone are just add-ons like better camera’s, speakers, scanners etc. Things to customise your phone, for fun. It means your phone still gets obsolete after a while. What if your screen breaks? Well you still need to replace the entire phone. And after a couple of years it gets slow and you need to replace your entire skeleton. {…} If Google truly wants to make a phone for the entire world, they should collaborate with others and make an open standard owned by the industry. Not one company.”

Even though they are pretty sceptical in Google, we think it is a good start for the future of sustainable smartphones.
Thus, we can’t wait!




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