SnatchDreams Blog

The Project ARA

By Cyril Pius
Updated On 10 Oct 2016

So What is Project ARA ?

Project ARA was a modular smartphone project under Google.The actual project was started by the Advanced Technologies and Project (ATAP) team within Motorola and then Google bought Motorola and sold to Lenovo and just retained the ATAP.It was planned to be launched in 2017 , However Google on 2nd September 2016 announced that Project ARA had been Cancelled.This Project was first announced by Motorola around three years ago and major objective of this modular phone was to enable users to customize the device according to their need and to their budget , Also to reduce the amount of Electronic waste. It was not only Google there are many other company focusing on the development of modular phone few among then is NETPAQ , Also LG G5 by LG With (only Battery as a module) and Fairphone2 By Fairphone currently avialable with in the market.

Why Did Google Cancel Project Ara ?

Ara captured many tech watchers imaginations with slick prototypes and the possibility of upgrading individual phone components, or swapping out phone components for particular applications. Though Google hasn't commented, there are some hints about just what led to the decision. The cancellation is a somewhat surprising reversal, given that it was announced that Ara developer kits would ship in late 2016, and a commercial product would arrive in 2017. According to sources, the cancellation is part of a broader streamlining of the companies hardware production. But there were also challenges and shortfalls specific to Ara. Its initial rollout, planned for last year in Puerto Rico, was delayed. Following that stall, some planned features that turned out to be too challenging to execute were stripped from the project. Ara also lost its director last year. Ara may ultimately have been a victim of insurmountable flaws with its underlying concept. As detailed by Recode, separating a phone into components threatened to slow communication between them, while also sapping battery life and making phones more expensive. Ara's cancellation highlights questions about the future of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group, which was developing the phone. Regina Dugan, who created ATAP at Motorola before it was folded into Google, left for Facebook just a few weeks before the May announcement of Ara's now-scuttled rollout.

First Prototype

The first version of the developers' kit relies on a prototype implementation of the Ara on-device network using the MIPI UniPro protocol implemented on FPGA and running over an LVDS physical layer with modules connecting via retractable pins. Subsequent versions will soon be built around a much more efficient and higher performance ASIC implementation of UniPro, running over a capacitive M-PHY physical layer. A near-working prototype of an Ara smartphone was presented at Google I/O 2014; however, the device froze on the boot screen and failed to boot completely.