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Project Ara developer kit reveals more details about Google's modular smartphone

By Simon Thomas on 10th April 2014

Google Ara


One of the most exciting things going on in the world of mobile right now is undoubtedly Project Ara, which is Google's quest to build a modular smartphone.


The tech-giant showcased a non-functional prototype of Ara back in March and now they've released the Project Ara Module Developers Kit (MDK), giving us even more information about the workings and features of the cutting-edge device.


The modular smartphone, which has been branded the Lego mobile, enables users to pick and choose the components to include in their mobile and upgrade them over time, including the diaplay, processor, camera and pretty much everything else.


It works using a clever Endoskelton (pictured above) which has 'empty' slots for holders that contain the smartphones components. The holders are held in place using magnetism and fit into a grid format, with 2*2, 2*1 and 1*1 formats available.


Initially, 'Medium' and 'Mini' sized Endoskeletons will be available with a larger phablet sized model due to be released at a later date. Google are aiming for prices to start at just $15 and also hope to offer a 'Grey' phone with a display, processor, battery and WiFi for $50.


Google highlighted some of the potential configurations of each sized Ara Endo in the picture below. The flexibility is pretty impressive offering you the option to make the display the prominent feature, add a QWERTY keyboard or front-facing speakers and more.

The number and configuration of the holders differs between the different-sized Endoskeletons, but they all embrace the same standard formats meaning they can transferred between models - offering users a cheaper way to switch between different sized devices.


Anyone will be able to produce chips - with Google even suggesting users can 3D print their own. However, in order to get modules on Google Play you'll need to be granted official certification. The holders themselves will also be printable and double as the case for the smartphone, offering endless customisation options.

We're super-excited by the prospect upgrading our smartphones overtime, as you would with a custom-built PC. Modders and designs are bound to fall in love with Project Ara and Google will be doing everything they can to keep things simple to appeal to the mainstream consumer.


Google are holding a developer conference next week for Project Ara where they will be showcasing a working prototype. We'll be bringing you all the news from the exciting event as it happens!


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