Google is targeting a $50 price point for its modular smartphone, which will see a commercial launch next year.
Google may have sold Motorola to Lenovo for $2.9 billion, but it did retain Motorola’s unit that was working on the Project Ara modular smartphone.
Google dished out more details about the handset earlier this week, and mentioned that it will hold a trio of developer conferences focused on the project. The first Ara Developers Conference will be held on April 15-16 and will be streamed online. At the event, Google is set to unveil the first Ara Module Developers’ Kit (MDK) that allows developers to design their own modules for the device.
The modular handset will be available next year, with the most basic version set to retail for just $50. This variant will only feature Wi-Fi connectivity out of the box, but users have the ability to add more modules. With the handset, Google is looking to create a platform which developers can then build on and provide additional modules. The device itself which will be built by google comes with an endoskeleton constructed out of aluminium. The endoskeleton features circuitry that allows modules to talk to one another. On this endo, users can attach and remove modules as they see fit.
However, there will be designated slots for certain hardware. For instance, an antenna module cannot be installed anywhere, as it would affect the cellular signal. But other than that, users have full control on what modules they wish to add. Furthermore, the modules that users add at the front will be secured by latches, while the ones at the back will be held in place by magnets. The device will also be water resistant. There is no indication as to when the device might actually be available, or whether regulatory agencies like the FCC sign off on such a device, but if anyone has the resources to bring such a handset to the market, it is Google.