Would You Use a Phone With Interchangeable Parts?

Imagine picking and choosing the parts you want on your phone and being able to piece them together almost like interchangeable Lego pieces; would you pick a larger battery? A fingerprint scanner?

Google says these options and more are around the corner via Project Ara, their platform for creating modular smartphones.

interchangeable phone
The generic mock-up for Ara’s modular phone with interchangeable pieces (Image via Google).
With a number of modules to choose from, such as different battery sizes, the user can create thousands of phone variations (Image via Google).

Ara will let users populate an endoskeleton — the structural frame and network backbone of the device — with hand-picked modules, the building blocks that make up the phone’s functionality and features.

Each module will be interchangeable, Google says users will have “the freedom to design exactly the phone they want and continue to customize the phone over time by replacing modules.”

Google published an instruction manual Wednesday for module developers who want to create the interchangeable parts that will operate with the endoskeleton, including environmental specifications for modules like maximum thermal loads and electromagnetic compatibility.

If apps are any example, hundreds of thousands of module options may flood the market through the Ara modular developers kit (Image via Google).

The instruction packet also includes examples of modules that may be available when the phone is first introduced to the market, like the refective Pulse Oximeter, which measures blood oxygen saturation.

Developers can get as creative as they like with suggested modules, as long as their plans fit the complex modular developer kit standards. The idea sounds flexible, if users decide to buy it. Google clearly hopes the endless options and flexibility for things like power consumption may lure customers.

“Users of an Ara phone will be able to power their device with one or multiple batteries; they will be able to swap a depleted battery with a fresh one, without powering off their phone; they will be able to charge one or more batteries in their phone from one or multiple charging devices,” Google said.

So if you could have your choice, what module would you create first?

(H/T: Gizmodo)

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