Google teases Project Ara ahead of developer day

News

Google is looking to use electropermanent magnets to hold together its forthcoming Project Ara modular smartphones, the digital company has announced ahead of a developers conference this month.

The news came as Google teased details of its new handsets, which will allow users to click parts of the smartphone, such as a camera, a screen and processor, into its endoskeleton. The magnets will hold the parts of the phone in place. 

A new video posted by the company suggests there will be three sizes of Ara smartphones available, a phablet device, conventional smartphone and a ‘nano” device.

Google will hold the first of three developers conferences in 2014 on 15 and 16 April in its California headquarters and online. A module developer kit is expected to be launched online imminently. The kit will use a prototype version of the Ara on-device network, which will use a more basic version of the MIPI UniPro protocol implemented on a field-programmable gate array and running on a low-voltage differential signaling physical layer. Further versions of the MDK will use the higher spec ASIC implementation of UniPro and will run on a capacitive physical layer.

Project Ara had formerly sat as part of Google’s Motorola Mobility handset arm, under its advanced technologies and projects team. Google sold Motorola to Lenovo for €2.1 billion in January, although Project Ara was not part of the deal.  

The forthcoming modular handsets are set for a commercial launch in early 2015. Google also partners with manufacturers to produce its Nexus range of Android smartphones and tablets.