Imagine not needing to buy a totally new smartphone every time some new tech comes out. A faster processor? Better camera? No problem, just switch out those hardware from your phone with new ones. Well at least that’s what Project Ara do and in the recent Google I/O it looks like that concept might be edging closer to reality with a somewhat working prototype (and by working we mean it actually turns on) being shown off.
Well actually working is a bit of a stretch as the phone only managed to boot up momentarily and then freeze at the Android logo before going any further. That being said, it still managed to work, and given the complexities involved in the concept, at least Google has show that a modular smartphone is possible… once they actually get the kinks worked out.
And it seems that Google is pretty confident that they’ll work out those kinks pretty soon as they’re saying a developer preview of Project Ara would be ready by the end of the year. Of course what’s a platform if there isn’t going to be any developers?
To up the ante and make Project Ara a lot more attractive, Google is even offering up a US$100,000 prize and a trip to Ara’s next developer conference for any developer who builds a working module that, as they would put it, “lets a phone do something that a phone has never done before”. Now that’s a pretty juicy bit of prize though we’re pretty sure if the concept really take off, US$100,000 might just be a small drop in an ocean of profits these concept will be able to turn over.