Project Ara: A Potential Success or A Pipe Dream?
What is Project Ara? Well let me tell you. The idea is to have an Android phone that will allow you to switch out individual parts to either upgrade or remove features from the phone that you like or dislike. This was an idea formed one year ago by Dave Hakkens to what he called Phonebloks. According to www.projectara.com this idea was designed with 6 billion people in mind.
Since then, Dave Hakkens has teamed up with Project Ara as they had similar concepts and run the Phonebooks community, whose goal is to help rid electronic waste from the industry. Project Ara has continued it’s process to take this idea and make it a reality. Later this year there will be market testing, but you will only be able to get your hands on one if you live in Puerto Rico. They chose Puerto Rico because over 50% of the population uses cell phones and the rest of the population uses feature phones, not to mention they found a big community of artists and entrepreneurs and are hoping this appeals to them. In an interesting marketing tactic, Google plans to be selling these phones out of food trucks.
From what research I’ve done, these are some questions that are going to be answered (eventually), and some things we won’t know until it’s release in Puerto Rico:
- Potential price for the Ara Body is $50. Incredibly cheap in todays market. If that’s the case how much will the swappable parts be?
- We don’t know how successful swappable parts are at staying on, if not it could ruin the entire phone. Worth it?
- Is it easy or extremely difficult to swap parts?
- Is it future proof? If it’s original resolution is 1080p could it handle a screen at a higher rate?
- Easy to use for non tech savvy customers?
These are just some questions that are being asked among a slew of others. The biggest aspect we have to look forward to is how useful the idea of swappable parts can be. If you need a high tech camera one day, you then can switch it out for more battery power the next. Or say, instead of having to buy a new phone like we all do every year and a half to two years because phones aren’t made to last that long in the current age, we can simply swap out a few parts for greater performance.
Honestly the biggest question that I can see with Project Ara is whether manufacturers will find the phone worth it in terms of making money and continuing to upgrade hardware as our software and technology becomes more and more advanced. If they don’t, then they will probably only come out with a few decent swappable parts and end it with that. Thus, ending the success of the phone entirely because that’s it’s most attractive feature.
Will you be getting an Ara phone? Need more information before making a decision? Why or why not?