Project Ara: stop making us dream your dream, Google

ara2

Julia Love for Reuters:

Alphabet Inc’s Google has suspended Project Ara, its ambitious effort to build what is known as a modular smartphone with interchangeable components, as part of a broader push to streamline the company’s hardware efforts, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

It’s nice to be part of a dream, but not when that dream implies time, money and effort that developers and makers all over the world spend into Google aspirational projects.

Google’s Project Ara was one of those, and although the idea was intriguing, the modular phone is the solution to a problem we don’t really have. Vlad Savov expressed it well a few months ago, and the efforts by other makers such LG (LG G5 & Friends), Lenovo (Moto Z & MotoMods) or Fairphone (with its Fairphone 2) show this kind of market is not convincing much people.

The difference is clear: LG and Lenovo just make the bet and dream the dream by themselves. Google dreams with us, and as Eduardo Archanco said, that is not always fair. Not at least for those who are much more than mere spectators.

Fairphone 2 shows Google Ara how it’s done

Have you broken your smartphone’s screen and want to get a replacement? Do you want to upgrade just the camera? Or access to a new battery? All of this can be done on one phone and one phone only, and it’s not Google’s Project Ara. It’s the Fairphone 2.

The first modular phone, built by a Dutch startup, starts shipping in December for €525.

There’s for sure a market for this, but I guess most users simply want an iPhone. That’s a pity, because this is really something that could revolutionize the smartphone market.

This is really something. Probably something ahead of his time.

Source: Fairphone 2 hands-on: Modular phones are finally here | Ars Technica UK

Fairphone and the story of the smartphone that wanted to be different

fairphone-2-repair

The original Fairphone was really a fair phone, but this second generation model goes even further. This is a phone that defies Project Ara and other modular concepts.

Owners can replace the screen, the microphone, the speaker, the camera, and the main circuit board using nothing more complicated than a screwdriver, with all the replacement parts available directly from Fairphone

You can get not only replacement parts, but upgrades such as a better camera. I wonder, though, if the logistic platform from this company can really meet the expectations of its user base.

Not bad for a phone that is not really cheap from its looks (525 €) but that is definitely a bargain for what it offers. Smartphones can really be different.

Source: Fairphone wants you to take apart your smartphone | The Verge