Google likely to release first Project Ara smartphone by January 2015

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Google is likely to release the first Project Ara smartphones in the consumer market by January, 2015, said Paul Eremenko, the team leader of the project.

Project Ara’s first developer conference was held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, where Eremenko pinned a probable release month for the first model of Project Ara dubbed ‘gray phone’ while also revealing that the phone could cost as little as $50 (£29).

The ultimate idea behind the phone is to offer a smartphone with several modules which users could change whenever they want and customise it to match their preferences and needs.

When a user wants to upgrade or change the specifications of the phone like its battery, processor and memory among other things they would only need to swap modules instead of changing the phone itself.

The components will be miniaturized and can be printed using a 3D printer. To design the phone, the project is partnering with 3D Systems, a 3D printing company that is now building a mega 3D printer to quickly print the components of the modular phone.

The modules will be attached to the frame with the help of electro-permanent magnets while they will communicate using the UniPro standard. The devices are said to have a life expectancy of five to six years during which the users can change the components as they please.

While so much is known about hardware, there is very little development in the software front. One sure thing is it will work on Android but it’s needless to say that the current Android platform doesn’t support the drivers required to run on the device. The team has a lot to do in this area in order to bring the phone to the market in January.

The second conference is due in July and the third and final conference will be held in September, before the launch of the device. Eremenko said, the project will end by April, 2015.