​Project Ara: Google planning January 2015 launch for its modular phone

google delays project ara 2016 version 1440010372

Google has revealed it hopes to have a phone from its Project Ara initiative on the market by January 2015. It’s the first time the company has offered such a specific launch date, indicating that its ambitious modular-phone initiative is making good progress.

Those interested in developing pieces for the unique handset have for the last two days been gathered together at the first Project Ara Developers Conference, taking place a stone’s throw from Google’s global headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Project Ara leader Paul Eremenko said at the conference Tuesday that its first device will be the “Gray Phone”, which will sell for around $50. If you think gray sounds a bit, well, boring for a launch phone, then that’s kind of what the team behind the handset are thinking, too.

“It’s called the Gray Phone because it’s meant to be drab gray to get people to customize it,” Eremenko explained.

Build-your-own handset

If you’ve got this far and are still wondering what on earth this Ara phone thing is all about, think of it as Google’s attempt at creating a highly customizable build-your-own handset where you kit out a basic frame with various modules according to your smartphone habits and needs.

Avid photographers, for example, will probably opt for the best available camera module, while those who prefer a physical keyboard to an on-screen one will be able to add such a part. In the recently released Module Developer Kit, there was even mention of a Pulse Oximeter Module as well as a Thermal Imager Module, so we can eventually expect to see a vast array of parts once developers really get stuck in.

The Android phone will launch with frames in three sizes. The bigger the frame, the more modules you can add, bringing more features to your handset. A much-touted advantage of the system is that if a component malfunctions or breaks, you can quickly and easily swap it out instead of trashing the whole device. Likewise, if your smartphone requirements change, you can effectively redesign your handset by choosing different modules.

This week’s Mountain View conference hopes to provide developers with information, as well as inspiration, for building the first Ara modules. More gatherings are planned for July and September.

Project Ara is led by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group (ATAP), which used to be part of Motorola Mobility. The Web giant held on to the group when it sold Motorola to Lenovo back in January.

[via Cnet]


Back for the boardroom, Microsoft outlines the future of the Surface Hub

With the Surface Hub 2 still on the horizon, Microsoft announced two additional versions of its digital whiteboard, the Surface Hub 2S and 2X, to attendees of their 2018 Ignite developer conference.

BlackBerry Key2 LE vs. BlackBerry Key2: Which productivity titan reigns supreme?

The Blackberry Key2 LE has many of the same features as its more expensive competitor, the BlackBerry Key2, yet comes in at $250 less. Which one should you choose? Here's how the BlackBerry Key2 LE and BlackBerry Key2 compare.

Get your camera out: Mercedes-AMG Project One supercar tests on public roads

The Mercedes-AMG Project One is a hybrid supercar incorporating genuine Formula One racing DNA. The $2.7 million Project One is entering its final stage of development, including public-road testing.
Emerging Tech

JackRabbot 2 is Stanford’s friendly new campus-roaming social robot

JackRabbot 2 is a robot developed by researchers at Stanford University -- designed to navigate around the campus, while carrying out friendly interactions with the humans around it.

Audio company Bragi is suing OnePlus over the word 'dash'

Despite taking steps to change to "Warp Charge," OnePlus is being sued by audio company Bragi over the phone manufacturer's continued use of the word "dash" in the Dash Charging used in OnePlus phones.

The best weather apps for Android will keep you dry no matter where you go

You may not be able to change the weather, but you can at least be prepared for it. Check out our guide to the best weather apps for Android, so you'll always know what to expect when you step out the front door.

Hateful software kills our enthusiasm for newcomer Realme’s $155 Android phone

Realme is a new smartphone brand with an interesting start to life, as it closely mirrors that of OnePlus, a brand we admire. The Realme 2 is its second phone, and we've given it a try to see if it's a winner.

Android 9.0 Pie is finally rolling out to the OnePlus 6

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

Apple iPhone XS Max vs. Huawei P20 Pro: Clash of the titans

Anyone seeking a great new smartphone with plenty of money to spend has two amazing options, but which is better for you? We pit the Apple iPhone XS Max vs. Huawei P20 Pro in various categories to help you choose.

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…

Armani Exchange’s smartwatch is for those who want their tech to be dapper

Armani is back with another Google Wear OS touchscreen smartwatch, and this time it's from the Armani Exchange division, making it stylish, modern, and affordable. There's plenty of technology inside too.

Apple iPhone XS vs. Sony Xperia XZ3: Which is the best phone for you?

What happens when one of Apple's best clashes with one of Sony's top performers? We're here to find out as we pit the iPhone XS against the Xperia XZ3 in various categories. Find out which of these smartphones will suit you best.

From Android 1.0 to Android 9.0, here’s how Google’s OS evolved over a decade

It's hard to believe, but Android has been around for almost a decade now. From Android 1.0 to Android 9.0 Pie, here's the history of Android and the changes that came with each new software iteration.

Google Feed is now known as ‘Discover,’ will be available on mobile browsers

As part of its 20th anniversary, Google unveiled its plans to improve Search starting with its Google Feed. Now known as Discover, the update brings along a redesign to help you find content that aligns with your interests.