Nerds like to customize their devices. From desktop computers to laptops and smartphones, we like to have some say about how our phones look, feel, and perform. That fact bodes well for Google’s Project Ara. This project aims to provide the most customizable smartphone ever, by allowing users to not only add apps in the blink of an eye, but to add and switch hardware just as fast. Pretty cool, I must say. But what will the general public say?
The mobile device is still in development but actual devices are close to being rolled out for testing by consumers. End users will be able to test out the swapping of “modules” on the phones. A “module” is simply a component of the smartphone, like a camera, a display, or a battery. The key feature of Ara is to be able to add or change out these modules as you wish. So if you want a better camera, you don’t have to replace your phone, just buy that particular module and pop it on the base. If you need a longer lasting battery, then you can change that out as well without having to take it to a phone guru. The ability to easily fix a busted display may be the best feature of this device for the average consumer.
Another great feature of the Ara Project phones will be the ability to visually customize the pieces of the phone. The modules can be printed with your photos, favorite team logos, and the possibilities are limitless with 3-D printing coming into play also.
I don’t have high hopes for this phone just raking in the profits once it starts mass production. It is a great idea and there are a few awesome features that will appeal to the average Joe and Jane. But the fact is that people are lazy. It is much easier to buy a phone and never have to worry about adding hardware features. It is an extra step that mostly geeks like me would care to delve into.
Buy a phone, use it until you can upgrade to the newest model, and keep going with the regular routine. This is the norm for most people using smartphones, so it isn’t likely they are going to change that routine for this Google project.
But it looks like Google is targeting the estimated five billion people that are not using a smartphone just yet. So hopefully I am wrong and this new way to do mobile phones takes off. But the fact remains that just because a new product or service is super cool, doe not mean that it will be profitable. And profits are what keep companies churning out the products that are in demand. I am anxious to get my hands on one of these Project Ara phones. Hopefully it makes it to the actual production stage so I can do a real live review. I’m up for whatever when it comes to smartphones.