Project Ara demonstrated by Google employee at LAUNCH conferenceAlex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
After a bit of a drought in Project Ara information, the news concerning the project has been flowing pretty heavily in recent days. Earlier this week, Google announced that it will be holding an Ara Developers' Conference in mid-April, and shortly afterward Google employee Paul Eremenko revealed a few new details about Ara in an interview. Ara is back in the spotlight again today as the subject of a live demonstration at the LAUNCH conference.
During the demo, Eremenko shows off a non-functioning prototype Ara unit and explains how its modules work. Both the front and back of the phone can house modules, which are held in place by a weak magnet. Users will be able hot-swap those modules thanks to a small battery that's present in the frame of an Ara unit. This will allow the user to decide exactly what goes into his or her personal Ara, including the option of creating a Wi-Fi-only device.
To start, consumers will be able to pick up a barebones "Grayphone" that has only a display, low-end processor that runs Android, Wi-Fi module and a small battery. Eremenko explains that the unit is gray to invite buyers to express themselves with their Ara. As has been mentioned previously, Google is hoping to make the starting price of these grayphone skeletons around $50.
Eremenko also discusses that Google plans to offer a free Module Developers Kit that will allow anyone to create Ara modules. Doing so, Eremenko explains, will help get more developers into the Ara ecosystem, especially those companies that many not have an interest in mobile hardware.
While much of the information discussed in this video is stuff that we've already heard over the past couple of days, the demo is still worth a watch if you've got any interest in Project Ara. Sure, you may already know some of the details of the effort, but it's still cool to see Eremenko demonstrate the modules sliding in and out of the prototype and even show an image of a functional Wi-Fi module. This is all pretty exciting stuff, and it'll be interesting to see not only if Google can meet its goal of a Q1 2015 consumer launch for Ara, but also if it can indeed pull off the modularity that it's been discussing in recent days.
We're sure to learn more about Project Ara in the coming weeks and months, especially with the Ara Developers' Conference that's scheduled to go down in April. Until then, you can check out the video of Eremenko discussing and demonstrating Ara down below. The Ara stuff starts at around the 5:16 mark.