About the modular smartphone, there are a lot of good news. First time, Motorola talked about the modular phone and now Google is trying to revive the project. There are a lot of rumors about the Google Project ARA and its modular device. On the same idea, a UK team is working on a similar project called Blocks. Both ideas have small parts with different features and both projects are very appreciated on the market. The question is now, which will be the first modular device released? If we think logic, Google will release the first product, being a big company with many engineers and more resources.
Google ARA project-Yezz prototype
The Google Project ARA has been talked the first time after the acquisition of Motorola Mobility in 2011, and after the patent acquired from Modu, an Israeli mobile phone company founded in 2007. Modu is the first company which developed the first modular cellular device and held the record for the lightest mobile phone in the world. The real beginning of the project started on April 1, 2013 and Motorola shared pubic Project ARA on October 29, 2013 as a collaboration with Phoneblocks(a modular phone created by the Dutch designer Dave Hakkens).
Now, Project ARA has been shown at MWC as a prototype made by the low-cost manufacturer Yezz. The prototype could be launched a price about $200. Yezz is developing at the moment more than 80 modules for the Google ARA and the most interesting is that Yezz want to integrate a solar panel produced by Suncore, to one of the module to increase the device battery life. Toshiba is also involved in the development program for a camera module.
At the moment, Yezz developed two prototypes and is working on developing a new series of modules for the system. The base of the device is an endoskeleton where the other modules could be inserted into the device function. The modules could be a screen module, curved or flat, processor, camera module, GPS and Bluetooth module, storage and sensor module. The number of totally module placed on the endoskeleton is 11 including the display module. The modules are disposable into different sizes and could be swapped out and removed with magnetic claps. This feature offers the possibility to the final user to customize the watch with de desired modules.
Google ARA project-Yezz prototype
Based on the Google Project ARA concept, a British team created a similar project for a modular smartwatch. The Blocks team wants to create a high-class smartwatch which with all their modules to be a super smartwatch. Blocks will be an Android device and will have the same features like a smartphone or a conventional smartwatch. Blocks can monitor the health, the fitness program, your weight and more. All the Blocks bracelet is actually composed of modules connected to metal jacks. The modules can be swapped and the watch could be upgraded or downgraded as the user wants.
Blocks concentrated the watch brain into the main modules which contain the display, processor, Bluetooth connection and the battery. For the Blocks modules will be a price around £20 to £40 per module. The modules can be camera, GPS sensor, heart-rate sensor, temperature sensor, additional battery and even a SIM card slot. For the Blocks display is in discussion three variants, one curved, one flexible and one normal flat display. The used technology for the display could be LED or for a better battery life could be E-Ink.
As a new technology, Blocks is a waterproof and dustproof device.
Both devices are interesting and could become reality in the near future. The only thing is to develop the modules and to miniaturize them to could make a thin device.