Project Ara

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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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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IMASD Click-ARM One promises the modular tablet dream

IMASD Click-ARM One promises the modular tablet dream

This year might be a year for modular mobile devices. Or at least the attempt to market these things. On the smartphone front, we have a lot of them, including Project Ara, Phonebloks, and PuzzlePhone. You even have laptops with OLPC Australia's upcoming XO-Infinity. Now even tablets are getting their chance too, with a limited edition Click-ARM One tablet which tries to deliver that modular tablet promise, but in a slightly different, and perhaps less convenient way that these other projects often try to sell.

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Toshiba creates Project Ara’s first 5 MP camera module

Toshiba creates Project Ara’s first 5 MP camera module

"We did it!", says Toshiba. And given the difficulty and significance of their achievement, it's not difficult to imagine their pride over it. The company has just been able to develop the first working camera module for the Project Ara module smartphone. Though only 5 megapixels in size, Some might initially belittle it because of its 5 megapixel sensor size, but given certain requirements and idiosyncrasies of a Project Ara module, even just a little bit like this already counts a long way towards a consumer-usable device.

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Project Ara has a lot to prove

Project Ara has a lot to prove

The geek within me loves Project Ara. Interchangeable modules that snick into a brushed aluminum frame and turn your smartphone into a pseudo-DSLR or a Tricorder: what's not to like? Google's ATAP team demonstrated the latest prototype - and detailed its flaws and future improvements - at Ara's second developer event yesterday, inviting module-minded partners on stage to discuss exactly what the flexible phone could become with a little imagination. Ambitious, certainly, but while many (myself included) left the event impressed by Regina Dugan and her intriguing handset, that enthusiasm was tempered with concern over whether the real-world would be so welcoming.

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Faux-3D and stool samples: Ara’s modules get freaky

Faux-3D and stool samples: Ara’s modules get freaky

Much has been made of Project Ara's modularity, but what modules exactly could be snapped into the customizable phone? Google's developer event saw several early partners give some teasers as to what blocks might come to the market, spanning everything from task-specific cameras for 3D, optical zoom, and more, through to medical testing, and even alternative displays like e-paper, all in the name of doing much more than a regular smartphone could.

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Google’s Project Ara Configurator app: here’s how you make your modular phone

Google’s Project Ara Configurator app: here’s how you make your modular phone

The team responsible for selling Project Ara to the public are aiming to make it as easy for you as possible. Google will be making it as easy to buy and as easy to see before you buy as possible. To do this, Project Ara will be coming with a Google Project Ara Configurator app. This app won't only allow you to see your Ara phone before you buy it, but after you buy it and want to add new pieces.

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