Back in 2007 Apple (AAPL) completely changed the way we used to look at smartphones and took the world by storm with its iPhone. However, since then a change of such magnitude hasn’t been felt, until now. The online search giant Google (GOOG) is on to something and this might again change the face of the smartphone space entirely. Industry experts and analysts are so keen on this innovation that they feel this will bring an end to smartphones, as we know them. So, what’s so special about the secret thing Google is working on? Let’s take a look.
Google’s Wonder Gadget
Before we take a look at the gadget itself, it’s important to understand the philosophy that Google has in mind for the device. The company believes that a smartphone is something very intimate and empowering to every individual. Yet the user has got very little control over the components that it’s made up of. Every individual is different. So should their smartphones not be different? Despite its empowering nature, as many as 5 billion people still don’t have smartphones and are still stuck with their dumb-phones. Google wants to make a device that these 5 million and the existing 1 billion users can relate to.
Google is banking on what it calls a modular phone to shift gears and take the lead. The concept is an absolute fresh one and the company calls it Project Ara. Ara will provide its users with unimaginable flexibility as far as choice of components go, and at the same time will be very easy on the pocket. The company has already released Module Developer’s Kit so that developers can start working on the concept. However, the actual device is expected to be available in January 2015 and should come with a price tag as low as $50 and can move up to as far as $500, depending upon the different features and specifications chosen.
How Does Ara Work?
Google Ara is a modular phone which is composed on several blocks that come together to form a fully functional device. Now, the most interesting part of the device is that any block can be anything. Imagine you have nine blocks. In one block you add a camera, in another block you add a Wi-fi antenna. Then you club two blocks to form a bigger block and add a battery. Maybe you want nice speakers on the device, so you again club two blocks and get a nice speaker block (see picture below to understand better).
The unit which will have slots to hold these blocks using magnets is called Endo. Google will initially make Endos in gray color only since that will make the other colors of the blocks look prominent. The users of the decvicce will be able to customize it according to their preference of colors, features and specifications. Another positive point about Ara is that it can be used for five to six years, significantly longer than the life of an average smartphone. This way the consumers will not have to replace their handsets every time a new attractive feature comes in. They can simply replace a block and put in a block with the latest feature. This huge flexibility also makes repairing the device very easy.
From what we know about Project Ara, it pretty clear that the search giant is making the device aimed at the mass market – offering easy affordability and value for money. Again, since Ara is coming from Google there is no doubt that it will be powered by the highly advance and fast improving Android operating system.
All this implies trouble is headed towards Apple. But it’s not going to be just Apple to take the heat. Even Samsung (SSNLF) is in an equally delicate position. Though the Korean Giant will have access to the Android OS, it might not be able to compete in terms of form factor and affordability. Even now smartphones from Google are ranked higher than those from Samsung. I believe, once Ara hits the market, there will be no stopping it.