The Project Ara – Modular Smartphone or a Mobile with Upgradeable Hardware

Whether it’s Project Ara, Vsenn, Nokia or Puzzlephone, the Modular Smartphone concept is awesome!

The Project Ara was announced by Google a couple of years back. The core concept behind it was to provide an end-user mobile that can be upgraded not only in terms of software but hardware also. The Project Ara is also known as the Modular Smartphone concept. At first when Google announced it, it was failed to get expected response by other tech giants like Samsung, Sony, LG, Motorola and other Android phone vendors. But now it seems that things are getting in favor of Google as Globant, an IT Services and Software Development Company announces to contribute in Project Ara. The company mainly operates in USA and UK but also in several other countries. The tech-giants was very much interested in Project Ara and is very excited to provide a marketplace where one can buy the modules for their Modular Smartphone.

The new marketplace for Project Ara is aimed to provide an online community like service for the developers and owners of modular smartphone. This eCommerce alike platform, marketplace, community or whatever you want to call it will be also a platform for module developers to sell their modules and will also allow them to communicate with customers, which will help them developing better software and hardware. A rating mechanism for developers will also be there to ensure high-quality end-user products for modular smartphone users.

Modular Smartphone – The Good

The Project Ara has many advantages and disadvantages there are also some limitations. The Modular Smartphone will allow freedom of choice in terms of hardware specs and also price. Let say if you want to buy a top-notch smartphone but you have very limited budget, well here is the solution, you can buy an average specs modular smartphone and can compromise on some specs, like you can add average or below average camera or small memory. Later you can replace the camera and upgrade the memory but with very small amount of investment. You can also buy the motherboard or let say the base and then you can buy rest of the modules later one by one.

Modular Smartphone – The Bad

The biggest disadvantage of the modular smartphone is that they are bulky and heavy. Each module (hardware, chips, etc) requires its own housing/plastic body or something which increase the size of the whole package. As Samsung, Apple and other vendors are in a race to get thinner, Project Ara should seriously address this if they want to grab the attentions of some of the most loyal and brand savvy users. Google is still in development phase and seemed far behind the launch, but they are running a successful pre-launch campaign for modular smartphones.

Modular Smartphone,  Project Ara and other Vendors

There are some other vendors who are also planning to get their share in modular Smartphone market. The two of the most popular are Puzzlephone and Vsenn. The Puzzlephone’s modular Smartphone consists of three main pieces, the Spine, the Heart and the Brain. The Spine of a Puzzlephone will consists of basic structure, LCD Screen, Microphone, Speaker, etc. The Heart will have secondary components (battery, etc) and The Brain will be its Processor, Memory and Camera modules combined.

Vsenn is another vendor announced its own breed of modular smartphone. Right now they are planning to provide only three modules; the Camera, the Battery and the Processor + Memory module, these modules will only be provided by Vsenn and there will be no third party support. Here, I found another interesting thing about these companies, both the Puzzlephone and Vsenn are Finland based companies and the Vsenn is founded by the co-founder of Nokia’s Android X project. Some of the tech-gurus are suggesting that Nokia is also silently planning to jump into the modular smartphone market. However, whether it is Project Ara, Vsenn, Nokia or Puzzlephone, the modular smartphone concept is awesome and not only for me but there are millions of others who are anxiously waiting to develop their first modular smartphone. Are you also one of us? Share your thoughts via below comment box.

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