Google axes modular smartphone plans - Mobile World Live

Google axes modular smartphone plans

02 SEP 2016

Google shelved work on Project Ara, its ambitious effort to build a modular smartphone after struggling with development and costing, reported Re/code.

The decision comes just months after the company said at a conference in May it would release the modular smartphone to developers later this year, ahead of a commercial launch in 2017.

Project Ara’s vision was to allow users to customise and personalise their smartphones by adding new modules, which could be removed when not in use.

This could be anything from an extra battery, speaker or camera, and was described by Google at the conference as “our vision for the future of phones”.

However, the company has struggled to develop a product that could perform to expectations and come in at a reasonable cost, said Re/code. It also cancelled plans for a market test last year, stating more iterations were needed.

The company’s hardware chief Rick Osterloh, who rejoined Google earlier this year, has now decided that Project Ara is unlikely to succeed, and is focusing on other hardware products such as Chromebooks, Android devices and Google Home.

Reuters added Google may still work with partners to bring Project Ara’s technology to market, potentially through licencing agreements.


Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

Read more