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What happened to Google’s modular phone, Project Ara?

Google’s Project Ara, the funky modular smartphone that lets you piece together your own mobile from various Lego-style components, is alive and well – and getting its own shop.

It’s been over six months since our last report on Project Ara, Google’s modular smartphone concept, so you could be forgiven for thinking that whole thing was dead in the water, like a deceased guppy. Hold that thought, though: it seems that innovation is alive and well, after news that Google is creating a marketplace for individual Ara modules to be sold.

The online store will follow the Play Store format and sell individual modules for your Ara phone, as well as displaying reviews for the hardware on offer. Google’s Paul Eremenko said “By following the Android model, we are creating a free and open platform…The Ara MDK is free and open and available to everybody, so everybody could create a module per the specifications of the developer’s kit and put it in the Ara module marketplace, which is analogous to the Google Play store, and sell directly to consumers.”

It’s certainly an interesting strategy and selling modules direct to consumers truly compliments the ethos of personal choice that a modular device offers. There’s still no firm news on when the devices might be available here in the UK or what modules will be on offer at launch, but we’re hoping that talk of sales methods means that Google is entering the final stages of development.

With the slew of wearable devices hitting the market in recent months, Project Ara looks like it could offer something truly unique, giving the form of a smartphone with almost unlimited freedom of choice, and we’ll be curious to see how popular the device is when it finally launches. 

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