Tag Archives: modular

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



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