Project Ara gets a progress update video ahead of developers conference

April 4, 2014
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motorola project ara modular smartphone (1)

Just in case your excitement level for Project Ara was dwindling, the Phonebloks crew has put up a video teaser – a little behind the scenes action of Project Ara and the folks that are making it possible.

The video comes at us less than two weeks ahead of the first Project Ara developers conference on April 15-16, and within days of the expected release of the Ara Module Developer’s Kit. We’d say that is good timing, indeed. Shot and pieced together by Dave Hakkens of Phonebloks, the video is a bit of a tour of what the Project Ara team has going on, and it is looking pretty good.

Let me just say one thing before you start the video – electro-permanent magnets are cool!

Instead of turning to screws, plastic clips or a full back cover, the engineers have a Project Ara prototype running that uses electro-permanent magnets to secure the individual modules in place on the main phone board. These magnets are made of various materials that operate as an electro-magnet, however, are able to hold a magnetic state without the need for constant electricity, just set it and forget it and your pieces stay attached.

The module connection technique allows the device to aesthetically embrace the modular design without needing to hide it all behind a cover. Allowing for ultimate customization, users can order modules in different colors, textures and designs. An Ara Configurator app will let you play with various designs and modules, and presumably allow you to order pieces, or an entire phone.

Project Ara Sizes

Finally, the video reveals what appears to be three distinct sizes of Ara devices, Mini and Medium appear to be in progress now, with Large coming in a future release. No indication is given what the actual sizes are, but Mini will provide a 2×5 module grid, Medium gets you up to 3×6 modules and Large will come in with a grid of 4×7 modules.

For more great Project Ara information, please take a look at our in-depth analysis here. What do you think, is Project Ara on track to take over the phone market, or is it just another gimmick?

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