Google’s modular phone will let you swap out parts without powering down

As if a Lego-like customizable phone made of blocks wasn’t enough: Thanks to a modified version of Android L software, you’ll be able to swap out parts from Google’s Project Ara modular phone without turning the device off, notes the Phonebloks blog.


Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the phone’s display or CPU modules. Everything else is fair game, though. That means if you want a better camera or more memory at some point during the day, you can simply replace those modules on the fly without having to shut down and restart your phone.

I could see that being very handy for the camera sensor: Perhaps you’ll carry different imaging modules for various lighting conditions or types of photos. In fact, during the Linaro Connect USA event held earlier this month — Linaro is assisting with the software — Paul Eremenko, head of Project Ara for Google’s ATAPĀ group, asked this very question: “Why choose a phone for its camera…when you could choose a camera for your phone?”

That’s the gist of Project Ara: Enabling the phone to be modified with various or new parts instead of requiring people to buy a whole new handset just to get a few new features. The concept makes sense but it’s still early days; it remains to be seen if consumers will embrace a modular phone once [company]Google[/company] delivers it. That’s expected in a few months, as the project team is aiming to launch a limited $50 modular handset this coming January.