If you’re keen to get your hands on one of Google’s modular Ara phones, the bad news is you’re going to be waiting a while: the company has said at its first developer’s conference they won’t go on public sale until January of next year. You will, though, be able to configure your own phone using a Moto Maker style tool that will allow you to not only select your components but add customized colors and designs to them as you do … 

Developers will be able to get hold of the hardware before the January release date, though Google has not yet given any timing on this.

Google had earlier revealed that the modules will be held together by electropermanent magnets. Customization options will apparently include 3D-printed textures.

While you may have to wait a while to buy one, Google’s Head of Project Ara Paul Eremenko believes that it may be the last phone you buy for as long as “five or six years” as you upgrade individual components as required. I must confess I’m still skeptical, but the coolness of the concept is growing on me.

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8 Responses to “Google’s modular Ara phones to go on public sale in Jan 2015 via configurator tool”

  1. Where’s the “waterproof” module?

  2. Air Burt says:

    This is a phone for the tech-nerds, not for normal consumers who wouldn’t know the first thing about configuring a phone. It might be popular with those of us who come to these sites, but you won’t see adoption en masse like the iPhone. I know I won’t be getting one.

  3. Why are you skeptical? Just curious.

    I think this is the next MAJOR move in the phone arena. There’s no way Apple will follow this as easily as the other moves that have been made. I’m sure there will be some limits; finger print scanning, additional cameras, etc. Mostly the gimmick portions. However, this is a very promising move forward. I like to tinker and build my own computers, so this seems natural to me.
    ThingsI’d like to see be changeable:
    – CPU
    – RAM
    – Internal Memory
    – Camera
    – Battery
    As well as the external housing for customized color and textures.

    Simply amazed if this happens.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I’m skeptical about a couple of things. First, let’s say you start with a 1080p screen and later want to upgrade to a 4K one. Will the existing SoC drive the new screen, or will you have to upgrade that too? I know smartphone technology has kind of plateaued for now, but there will be a lot of developments in 5-6 years, and I’m not convinced this modular approach will keep up. Second, will it actually be any cheaper to upgrade (non-subsidised) components than to upgrade phone every couple of years? Maybe for those like me who always buy outright and then get a SIM-only tariff, but probably not for most in the US where there’s no point doing that.

      • I see your side and agree with most of it.
        As with computers, you can’t upgrade the CPU without upgrading the motherboard in most cases. I can see where this will either ruin the move or possibly drive it. But being able to upgrade parts, such as the camera, would be VERY appealing and cost less than going from, say, S4 to S5; I think you catch my meaning.

        I can see the advantages, but it depends on the manufacturers and how well they embrace this. It can be as easy as building your own PC.

  4. Is this the real reason why Google let go off Motorola? Is this the new “Nexus” phone?