There are a lot of projects out there in the world. A lot of things in development, some of them have even managed to get plenty of attention long before they’ve ever had a real shot at a public launch. As expected, a project like Ara from Google is one of those projects that’s going to get plenty of the limelight long before it’s ready for the public. That’s not always a bad thing, but sometimes it’s not a good thing, either.
When I think of something like this, I’m always reminded of the Consumer Electronics Show. Ironically enough this actually just took place earlier in January, and it was there that we saw a lot of different devices, gadgets and pretty much everything in between. The sad truth is that while many of the smartphones we saw will see a public release, many might get delayed, others will get canceled outright, and many of the other devices that were showcased will never see a launch, either.
CES is a wide open mess, and more often than not devices there never get off the ground.
With Google helping Project Ara, there’s not much reason why it won’t at least get some traction when it finally does get ready enough for the public. If the search giant is serious about the modular smartphone, well, then it’s likely that at least a few people out there will buy it — and probably love it. Indeed, Project Ara is something that I’ve been watching, off and on, ever since it was initially revealed, and after today’s conference with Ara as the sole star, I’m even more interested in the idea.
I’m a huge fan of Moto Maker, Motorola’s attempt at making it possible to truly customize a device, so the idea that we can actually whittle that down to the individual parts within our phones, and make it easily customizable for the layman, is pretty great. We’re living in exciting times when it comes to smartphones, even if some companies are stuck in physical design ruts.
The truth is, while Ara is obviously exciting, the obvious question is whether or not it’s going to ever really stand a chance in the uber-competitive smartphone market. Can a modular smartphone, that’s pieced together, stand toe-to-toe with HTC’s, or Samsung’s, or Apple’s next flagship smartphone?
Is that even the point?
I don’t think it is. In fact, I’d wager that Google has never considered Project Ara as a means to compete against any of those companies, at least not directly. Much like we’ve seen from the Nexus lineup, Google simply offers options for consumers, and that’s exactly what Project Ara is. It’s an option. And, for people who love to customize things, and who would really like to build a phone like some people build a car, Ara is perfect.
I’m a little bummed that Ara’s launch is going to be solely set in Puerto Rico, and that there’s no timeframe in place for when the project will see other regions, but at least it’s coming in 2015. That’s a good start. There was a long stretch there where I thought Ara was never going to get out of the bowels of the testing departments, so knowing it’s coming to the real world this year is pretty exciting.
So, my question to you is whether or not you’ve even considered Ara at all. How do you like the idea of piecing your next smartphone together, with a specific screen type/size, battery size, and whatever else? Is that appealing to you, and would you like a company like Samsung or HTC to offer that type of thing? Let me know!