Top 5 reasons to jump on the Project Ara bandwagonAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
It’s been a while since I mentioned Project Ara, but with the recent release of this prototype video from the Project Ara team I felt that it was as good of a time as any to talk about this fascinating new development in the mobile world again. You may have read some of my previous articles that praised Project Ara, and this one is no different. It’s not exactly a secret that I’m quite in favor of making this strange modular phone happen.
The replies I’ve seen in response to Project Ara are pretty iffy, with people on both sides of the fence. People are skeptical, as they probably ought to be with any new development this early on. It’s also important to remember that just because an idea is new and fresh (dare I say innovative?) doesn’t always mean that it works. Just look at the Sony Xperia Play, or the Kyocera Echo, or BlackBerry 10. Good ideas in theory, not so great once played out. Project Ara is no different, and doesn’t come without its risks. In fact, even with the release of the new prototype video you only see the device partially work, but fails to completely boot up. Perhaps not promising at this point in time, but I still find it kind of fascinating to see the development of this strange new project.
That being said, I thought it would be a good time to bring up my top 5 reasons why I feel like people should jump on board with Project Ara, even if you’re feeling skeptical. So without further ado, let’s get started!
1. It’s something to look forward to
I don’t know about you guys, but in the mobile corner of the tech industry it seriously feels like we’re not getting any real fresh ideas. Screens get bigger, resolutions get better, processors get faster, and you get a couple of gimmicks thrown in there with just about every release. That’s cool and all, but it’s not really that exciting anymore. The fact that Project Ara is still in development and we’re still learning how this whole “modular” thing will actually works is one of the ideas that I’ve been keeping my eye on the most. The project is still about a year away from when it is estimated to be completed, but it’s still a refreshing topic to keep tabs on when you’re bored with screen sizes and resolutions.
2. It should be cost effective
At this point in my life, springing for a new phone every two years isn’t that big of a deal. I’m financially sound and I have the means to do it, but at the same time I do realize that it’s still a luxury. There was a point in time not that long ago where I couldn’t really afford to pick up a new phone every couple of years, even when I needed one. However, usually when I “needed” a new phone it was only because of one or two ailments with my current phone. Maybe the charging port was broken, or the screen was cracked. Either way, I had to get an entirely new phone to replace it. With Ara, you only have to worry about replacing whatever is broken. Supposedly, this will not only be easy, but also cheap.
3. It’s a land of opportunity for aspiring developers
Once upon a time, when smartphones were just starting to get popular, there was a good chance that you could make a pretty solid living just by becoming an app developer. Before Apple and Android had ocean-sized app selections, there was a really good opportunity in there to make it big. Is that opportunity still there? Sure, but you’re going to have to get pretty creative (or maybe just make a really hard and simple game, like Flappy Bird). Point being, it’s not as easy to get noticed in today’s huge app selection. With Project Ara, however, there’s another window of opportunity that comes in the form of developing actual modules or accessories for the product. You can learn more about becoming a module developer for Project Ara here.
4. It’s more eco-friendly
I only know one person in my life who goes out of their way to “Go Green” as they say, and that’s my own mother. Pretty much everybody else is pretty carefree about whether something gets recycled or trashed, and doing it only when the opportunity is right in front of them. Phones are no exception. I know a lot of people that simply trash their broken phones because there’s no real dedicated area to toss them. Glass, paper, and metal are easy, but where do phones go? When entire phones are tossed out, things start to add up. The same goes for old computers, televisions, and any other electronics you can think of. They don’t always get refurbished or reused; a lot of the time they just get dumped. Modular phones can’t completely solve this issue, but with more compact modules that need to be replaced every so often we can lessen the amount of electronic waste generated by broken electronics.
5. It’s super customizable
I think since the unveiling of the Moto Maker, we in the mobile industry have been on a customization kick. We like being able to make phones look more unique and stand out from a sea of other phone look-a-likes. Still, Moto Maker can only customize so far, and you can only do it once. Ara lets you customize over and over again in a ton of different ways, so that’s a pretty cool thing to look forward to if you like customizing your phone.
So there you have it, my top 5 on why I think you should hop on the Project Ara bandwagon. It might be a total flop - I’m not saying that it’s not possible. However, I do think that with time this project will start to show more promise, just as it already has. If nothing else, it’s an interesting development to watch.
Readers, how are you feeling about Project Ara these days? Do you think that a modular phone will be a success, or do you think it will be a total flop? Let us know in the comments below!