Designed to allow devices to be customized for an individual’s own style and functional needs, Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone has been one of the more compelling pieces of hardware kit announced within the past few years.

The platform, which allows users to swap out hardware components including high-resolution cameras, loudspeakers, different battery sizes and a growing list of other functions, has been largely kept under wraps since it was announced in 2014. Now, it looks like early adopters will be able to have the phone in their hands as early as this Fall before the revolutionary new take on the smartphone hits the consumer market in 2017.

While the modular components will vary nearly as widely as today’s apps – an Open Marketplace will let brands and developers sell their own modules – the core of the Ara is a frame containing the CPU, GPU, antennas, sensors, a battery and a display. Built with durable latches and connectors to keep modules secured, the Ara frame will also be built around a standardized system to allow for modules to work with new generations of frames and form factors:

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Although it’s still months away, the fact that Project Ara – and perhaps more importantly, a low-cost modular computing platform that independent hardware developers can tap into – has come this far is definitely worth getting excited about. Find out more about becoming an Ara developer over at Project Ara.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.