Project Ara

I was wrong about Project Ara

I was wrong about Project Ara

Google has given up on Project Ara, another of the company's more intriguing skunkworks projects shuttered without making the big waves the initial hullabaloo promised. Ara was to usher in a new generation of upgradable, wildly flexible smartphones: a platform that would both buck the trend of the relentless replacement cycle, and unlock possibilities for niche and custom gadgets that wouldn't make financial sense as a traditional device.

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Project Ara is dead, Google confirms

Project Ara is dead, Google confirms

Project Ara is dead, with Google confirming reports that it has indeed axed plans to bring its modular smartphone to market. Ditched after more than three years of development and numerous setbacks, the Ara vision of a smartphone which could be upgraded piecemeal with various interchangeable components proved simply too tricky to commercialize.

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Project Ara modular smartphone is DOA, say sources

Project Ara modular smartphone is DOA, say sources

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, but surely to everyone’s disappointment, Google might be shelving the once highly popular Project Ara that would have delivered a truly modular smartphone with interchangeable core components. At least that’s what two sources are saying. Given the repeated delays and a significant change in the project’s vision and implementation, that is almost expected. Also expected, however, will be the backlash from different supporters, including hardware makers whom Google already announced and waved around like trophies, if Google does throw in the towel, temporarily or otherwise.

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It’s the right time for a Nintendo phone

It’s the right time for a Nintendo phone

Nintendo has traditionally been steadfast in its dedication to hardware, even as rival consoles have out-performed, out-exclusived, and eventually out-sold it in the process. It's taken the company years to concede that yes, smartphone gaming and leveraging the value of its game IP might be a good way of making money, and sure enough Nintendo's stock price has soared as Pokemon GO became a must-have on iOS and Android.

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Odd Project Ara “tablet” sighted in benchmark site

Odd Project Ara “tablet” sighted in benchmark site

If you have forgotten about Project Ara, Google's promise of a modular smartphone, you can, perhaps, be forgiven a bit. Promised, although tentatively, to launch sometime in early 2015, the now almost mythical device is still nowhere to be seen. Except in developer conferences, blog posts, and, apparently, benchmarking websites. An certain Google Project Ara, model A8A01, appeared on GFXBench and while most of the specs seem normal for a high-end smartphone these days, one detail or two make it sound more like an odd and gigantic tablet instead.

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Google’s Project Ara module magnets don’t work [Updated]

Google’s Project Ara module magnets don’t work [Updated]

Google's Project Ara modular smartphone just can't catch a break, with plans to use fancy electropermanent magnets scrapped after they struggled in testing. The Ara team had planned to use an innovative new module attachment system with, it was promised, the flexibility of a magnet but the power-efficiency of more physical connectors. Turns out, though, that technology wasn't quite ready for primetime.

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Project Ara delayed to 2016, looking for US launch site

Project Ara delayed to 2016, looking for US launch site

It seems that the dream has officially been delayed. The Project Ara team has officially confirmed what was already foreshadowed in yesterday's tweets. The modular smartphone won't be coming this year. Instead, it will have a 2016 launch which still has no new timeline. And instead of doing it outside of the country, the first Project Ara smartphone might be launched somewhere in mainland US instead. Naturally, despite its best efforts to assuage fears, the delays would inevitably worry not just fans but also existing and potential hardware partners.

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Project Ara might have hit a snag, Puerto Rico launch ditched

Project Ara might have hit a snag, Puerto Rico launch ditched

It's probably too premature to sound the alarm, but Project Ara might be further delayed than it already is. Although more positively and warmly welcomed than Google Glass, Project Ara is also more ambitious and more experimental, which makes sudden shifts in plans not that surprising but still nerve-wracking. Without much explanation, Project Ara is practically saying that it will no longer have its pilot launch in Puerto Rico, maybe not even this year anymore. At the same time, the team reassures the public that it won't be going the way of Google Glass.

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“Modular” Fairphone 2 goes on pre-order in Europe

“Modular” Fairphone 2 goes on pre-order in Europe

Beating Google's Project Ara by a few months, or so we hope, Fairphone has just opened the pre-order doors for its own take on the modular smartphone design. Though not exactly how some might envision "modular" to be, the Fairphone 2 is nonetheless designed to not only be robust enough to survive most accidents but modular to the extent that parts can be replaced or repaired when damaged. Admittedly less sensational than Ara, this approach does have the benefit of allowing Fairphone 2 to go out of the woodwork earlier.

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Project Ara makes history in brief I/O appearance

Project Ara makes history in brief I/O appearance

Project Ara may not have had the staring role at I/O today, but that didn't stop Google's modular phone from making history in its scant moments on-stage. The Google ATAP session was dominated by Projects Soli and Jacquard, but Ara made a one-final-thing appearance at the very end to show off its now-functional hot-swappable modules and even demonstrate its camera skills.

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nexpaq fulfills the Project Ara dream in a smartphone case

nexpaq fulfills the Project Ara dream in a smartphone case

Although a lot of progress has been made on the Project Ara modular smartphone, its fate as a commercial product is still unknown until the day it lands in the market. In the meantime, those who believe in the modular dream might opt to bid their time by supporting this nexpaq Kickstarter. No, it's not another attempt at a modular smartphone. Instead, it is an attempt to deliver some of that same promise through a modular smartphone case that could, in theory, work with any smartphone, with a few caveats.

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Intersoft’s Project Ara modules: radiation sensor, multi SIM

Intersoft’s Project Ara modules: radiation sensor, multi SIM

The great thing about the Project Ara modular smartphone idea is that the very thing you use to play Clash of Clans could very well be the same thing that saves your life. A smartphone for every day use can, with a few swaps here and there, turn into a portable med lab or, in this case, a radiation sensing instrument to warn users of danger. The latter will be thanks to a new module that Russian tech company Intersoft has been developing. And it isn't the only thing it has in the works either.

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