OMG – have you seen the Google ARA?

I have never been a huge fan of smart phones, but this …this excites the hell out of me!

It’s quite a long video clip so I’ll give you a very quick summary of what it’s about. Basically, this is the first launch of a new technology that makes the smartphones of the future completely modular, and completely customizable.

So what? you say. Well, imagine that you are a little old lady of 90 who can’t make head nor tail of all this smartphone technology. But she needs some way of making calls, and her family need some way of ensuring she’s ok. They buy one of these ARA phones and put in just two modules – one for making calls, and one that acts like a current SOS device [i.e. it rings for help if the user falls unconscious etc].

Not a little old lady? No problem. You buy an ARA phone and plug in a camera and some high end modules so you can break dance wherever you are.

Not a break-dancer either? A reader perhaps? Easy. Just plug in the basics you need, then plug in an Amazon module that will allow you to comfortably read your favourite books as you commute.

But these are just the things I can think of that would appeal to users. The true beauty of this new technology is that it will throw the hardware development market wide open to every manufacturer in the world. The consequences of that will change the world as we know it.

In fact, it will be similar to the revolution that modularization brought to computers. Wha’?

Back when personal computers were babies, they were very, very expensive because the technology had not been standardized. These days, you can either buy a generic computer off the shelf – say a Dell or whatever. Or you can buy the modules you want and install them yourself, effectively building your very own computer exactly to your specifications. Or …you could do what I do which is to research which modules you want, and the relative quality of each module, then go to a local computer shop and get them to build your new pc for you.

The point is, making pc hardware modular allowed all sorts of manufacturers into the game, and that level of competition brought the price down to the level we have now. Beyond that, however, the true beauty of this technology is that we have no idea where it will go!

I’m guessing Google ARA will develop hand in hand with 3D printing to completely change the way ordinary people interact with technology. And that, my friends, is the stuff of science fiction. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be alive at this turning point in history.:D



About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

16 responses to “OMG – have you seen the Google ARA?

  • Candy Korman

    The future! (For me and my mom, too.)


  • AntVicino

    This is awesome. Even if the initial costs are higher you have to figure that in the long run you’ll be spending less by upgrading single components rather than buying a whole new phone every few years.


    • acflory

      Exactly! Plus you won’t be paying for features you neither want nor need. Of course I suspect that like apps now, a lot of people will buy modules just because, even if the rarely use them. And /that/ will make the manufacturers happy. 🙂

      Btw – welcome!


  • George Panayiotou

    But it still doesn’t have a holographic display! damn tech always disappointing me 😦
    Google is also doing research with 3d scanning tech in phones.
    They want the device to be able to scan a room ala kinect and they are doing pretty well on that regard.
    Portal 3D scanners for your 3D printing needs.


  • josh

    This is very interesting. I wonder if we will see a replay of the Mac vs PC mentality with Google and Apple. Even now, Macs are much less modularized than PCs…and are generally much more expensive and are definitely less customizable. Would Apple stick to that approach for their iDevices? My money is on yes. The question is whether it will hurt their market share this time around.


    • acflory

      Very interesting question Josh. I’m old enough to remember the first round of MAC vs PC wars [back in the 80’s]. Apple lost that one and even now, I think it’s only dominant in the mobile devices area.

      If ARA fulfills its promise though, a modular phone will suddenly become the new, sexy, must have toy.

      I’m sure some people will stick with Apple no matter what, but… this could be the beginning of the end for that kind of hardware manufacturing. After all, IBM was the market leader until it lost out to the cheaper pc clones. Interesting times indeed.


  • davidprosser

    Many of the smart phones out now are way out of most people budgets, especially apple Iphones. Android phones bring the level much closer. I wonder if this new one will be accessible to the little old lady of 90 if she’s on a limited income?
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx


    • acflory

      According to the Google rep the answer is yes – depending on how many modules the little old lady wants on her phone. In fact, if she just wants a phone, with nothing else, it will probably end up costing her a hell of a lot less than pretty much any phone on the market right now. At least that’s the theory. 🙂


  • EllaDee

    Love this idea given I only use a small amount of the functionality on my phone, the G.O. even less but we’re savvy enough that the absence of coverage was noticeable but not debilitating (to us anyway… although the houseguests struggled):)
    Even the G.O. now uses the Google voice app on his mobile to ask questions and get answers off the ‘net.
    It’s incredible to think what has come to technological actualisation that once was simply in the realms of imagination and sci-fi.


  • Honie Briggs

    Well, I’m so glad you explained it because I couldn’t make it through more than 2 minutes of those two goofballs stutter-chatting over each other in the video. That will be a nice piece of technology to give the competition a kick in the pants. I just wonder what will happen to the functional obsolescence factor when it’s time to upgrade to the Google ARA II.


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