While most of the tech world is figuring out which whole smartphone will be their next device, there’s a group of people in Mountain View working hard on the crazy notion that one day we’ll be able to just replace pieces of our phones when better versions of those parts are available. Project Ara has been running silent for a little while, but we’ve finally got a better idea of how the first generation of this tech is going to work and who is going to be involved in the launch.
What started out as the quirky concept that seemed to border on impossible has blossomed into a serious idea, and as Project Aramoves toward being developer-ready, the team responsible has started to iron out some details. For starters, Ara will run the latest version of Android when it is launched. It will be a slightly modified version of Android L, which means it will have an independent series of updates to support all of the unique hardware that will function with this platform. However, it should stay very close to current as Android continues to grow and change.
The software will also support hot-swappable modules, but of course that will come with some obvious caveats. In this instance, it means you’ll be able to swap out the camera and probably even add some storage on the fly. Most everything else will likely require a reboot, and in more obvious cases like the processor and battery it will require completely powering the device down first. Still, the ability to switch out hardware without a time consuming software update each time is fantastic news.
Project Ara has already gained support from Toshiba, Rockchip, Foxconn, and Quanta according to the Phonebloks blog. Google’s December conference for Project Ara is expected to include several big updates, and will likely have a proper demonstration of Android L running on their demo hardware. 2015 is starting to look very bright for Project Ara.