Google's Project Ara will let you mix and match smartphone bits

Project Ara
Google's Project Ara has been in the pipeline for a while now. Some even expect the tech giant was behind the whole 'Phonebloks' idea. Regardless of where it came from, Google's new undertaking in partnership with Motorola is set to mix things up a bit in the smartphone market.

Google has just released a video showing off the numerous possibilities of Project Ara. The clip, titled ‘Part of it’, alludes to the modular design of the phone, which is essentially made up of small parts you can slide on and off yourself which fit on to a main “endoskeleton”.

Say you want a camera piece with a higher megapixel, the idea is that you’ll be able to purchase the attachment and slide it right on to your phone. Or, if perhaps you don’t use your camera often, you can replace that piece with something else you might use more.

The clip shows other possibilities - a night vision component, a battery which can be easily swapped out with a ready-charged one, speaker systems and a favourite (and a solution to a common problem) - the ability to slide off your smashed screen and easily slide on a new one yourself.

It gets better, because the components can be swapped out and replaced if they eventually die, the devices are expected to last longer, which will hopefully reduce electronic waste, an initiative first set by Dave Hakkens and his organisation Phonebloks.

The concept is pretty unbelievable and is expected to turn the whole smartphone market on its head when it’s eventually released to the public. Though no official release date has been set, Project Ara will begin pilot testing in Puerto Rico this year.

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).