100 lucky winners will get to trial Google's modular phone

Google's modular Project Ara phone concept will get publicly tested by 100 members of the public through a program called Ara Scouts. The modular phone experiment was born out of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team and now it seems that 100 members of the public will be receiving an early prototype to test, use, and provide Google with feedback on how to improve Ara before it gets released commercially sometime early next year.

Though the 100 Ara Scouts winners were selected, at this point it's unclear when their prototypes will ship and when they will actually be able to hold the phones in their hands. To be selected, Ara Scouts competed in missions, with the most active participants being selected. Describing the program, Google says:

After 9 missions with participation from over 30K people across 111 countries, we're bringing the Ara Scouts program to a close. As many of you may have seen at our recent Google I/O presentation, the team's focus over the next 8 months will be to bring our functional prototype into reality. We'll be reaching out to our 100 most active Ara Scouts soon, letting them know that they'll be among the first to get an Ara phone outside our team.

100 lucky winners will get to trial Google's modular phone

Project Ara is initially slated for a January 2015 launch, but the 8-month window that's stated with the close of the Ara Scouts program suggests that the launch date may now be postponed to March 2015.

Source: GigaOm

 
There are 64 comments

radgatt says:

Lucky mofos lol.

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Robb Nunya says:

Yeah, I was just wondering who's leg I have to hump to get in on this.

seanjenkins says:

Still don't see the point

n5

bbalak says:

The point is, upgrading the entire phone every 1-3 years will be a thing of the past. Need more memory? No problem, just buy a new module. Want a camera with a zoom? No problem, just buy a new module. Want better speakers to play music? No problem...

Xenx says:

Lets be realistic, there are drawbacks as well. Performance and power draw being the important ones. Mind you, I'm not against the idea... they're just two very big drawbacks for a lot of users.

bbalak says:

Why would there be any more than normal power draws or less performance with this design compared to a current phone? It's no different than how current phones work, the parts are just separated into modules that can be removed or replaced. I would think the larger challenge for them would be the OS having to adapt to the demands of the different modules.

TKL74 says:

The biggest concern is probably driver compatibility issues..... I would think.

Marvin-13 says:

Want a higher-res screen? No pro... wait ... Haha jk

Robb Nunya says:

Yeah, because laptops are better performers than desktops...

Paskell says:

How's that a downside they will come out with higher capacity battery's in the same size same with CPU and ram etc

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Robb Nunya says:

That just shows that you're a person of limited vision. Enjoy your customizable software experience. I want and end to end customizable experience, thank you very much. You? You might as well go buy a Windows Phone. After all, customization's not your thing, is it?

Nathan Hale1 says:

Or perhaps all these people have seen the promise of "endless upgradability" not play out accordingly in desktop computing after all. Every chipset has finite limitations, it's not like you can upgrade a motherboard from 4 years ago to hold 32GBs of RAM

mhinc says:

Well said. Expect you mean an iPhone :)

chapaboy says:

Drop the phone and it is going to bounce like SONIC the hedgehog dropping all the pieces like coins.... now chase them around and hope no one steps on them... I think i prefer having it covered.

NickLippert says:

I'm sure there will be some sort of cover or case to prevent this.

chapaboy says:

I certainly hope so! if not... someone will sell a rubber cover for it.

This. There will always be a market for phone cases.

Robb Nunya says:

I ALWAYS have my phones in cases. My tablets as well. Who doesn't? People who like to tempt fate, that's who.

I never have and I've never dropped or damaged any of my tech goods.

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Law of averages says you will eventually.

Jacob Kral says:

Careful people.

Jacob Kral says:

Careful people.

Jacob Kral says:

Careful people.

a delete button would be awesome.

vansmack says:

Or maybe you should just be more careful with your enter button....

; )

Jacob Kral says:

Lol, irony. No I blame the internet for that one, it kept saying it didn't go through.. when clearly :/ it did.

Evil Hamster says:

I never have. I'm paying $7 a month for the insurance, so no worries!

Schhy says:

they have special magnets in the parts and the phone. there was an article about it somewhere

fuzzylumpkin says:

Permanent electromagnets, they're awesome in and of themselves!

Yeah, I'm a nerd...

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gmak1911 says:

Did you not watch the video? They addressed that with a demo.

Certainly not everyone will find this appealing either. Certainly if purchased this would be one phone that I would need to put a cover on. Just not doing it aesthetically for me, but I like the concept for sure.

Robb Nunya says:

At least you'll be able to replace the exact component that breaks. Drop your phone right now and you're likely to have a $150 (minimum) charge to fix that screen you just shattered.

Jacob Kral says:

How I wish this was still under Motorola instead of Google.

It's the most amazing concept for a phone, but I'm not touching it with them at the helm.

harleyb16 says:

When it was under Motorola Google was still at the helm. They owned moto

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Jacob Kral says:

I know, but I wish it wasn't raided from them and was still under Motorola/(Lenovo now iirc?) after sale.

I simply don't trust Google anymore. If it were under someone else we might have at least seen Ubuntu, FirefoxOS, sailfish, etc.. experiments. Knowing Google, it will certainly be locked to android or, God forbid, chromeOS. Meaning it's less likely the needed drivers will be released for others to try with.

Paskell says:

You don't trust Google yet they make the most affordable phones ( nexus ) that have on par specs still with new 600$ phones at half the cost. But if you would rather trust a foreign company to build and design your products go ahead I'm glad Google has this.

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Jacob Kral says:

In light of recent revelations, actually yeah, I'd trust foreign brands more than domestic ones. In what way should that make me trust them more? But that's not my point, I'll choose what is actually best for me personally, nexus is pretty weak, it's not on par with any current flagship. OnePlus can't be beat on a $/power basis, and certainly is better built as well.

fuzzylumpkin says:

Though I can sorry of see where you're coming from, I believe you're on the wrong website.

Hate to break this to you, but android is a Google product! ;p

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Jacob Kral says:

I know, and it happens to be my mobile OS of choice for now, but I'd love to have more options. They are just slowly becoming more and more pervasive and it bugs me.

fuzzylumpkin says:

As I (tried to, it won't let me edit) say, I do sort of see your point.

It often feels like we live on Google earth...

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Evil Hamster says:

It's kinda funny... 5 years ago everybody was saying the same about Micro$oft.. and they've only gotten worse in the meantime.

Though I do agree google is bad from the perspective they support the political party that wants to replace freedom with facism.

Jacob Kral says:

Which party is that? If you're paying much attention the democrats and republicans are both fascist. Not to start a political war here, but Obama and Romney were nearly identical policy wise.

acrewdog says:

If you distrust Google so much this might not be the website for you. You might want to try a different ecosystem with developers you trust to give you the experience you desire.

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Jacob Kral says:

I gladly will when that becomes a viable option. But for now android is still king, I just don't want to be wrapped up any deeper in Google's world.. G+, nest, music, wearables, cars, camera systems, search, YouTube, Gmail, robotics, etc..

TemporalBeef says:

Can't tell if trolling or not...

fightcrazy says:

If you were a hacker with basic mobile phone knowledege you coould take some great products and build a super phone. I think the entire idea is futuristic, love the way Google takes aim at the new phones of the future. I would love to one of those very lucky 100 members.

Jacob Kral says:

Google doesn't pioneer anything anymore, they just buy someone else and take what they want. Then they get all the credit.

Robb Nunya says:

So... they should re-invent the wheel every time they want to do something new?

And FYI: Google bought Android, so using the word anymore is really not accurate. But hey, ignore the tens of thousands of hours they put into Android... They shouldn't get any credit, amiright?

Jacob Kral says:

Try again, this time actually making an argument based on what I said, not what you assumed I thought.

They don't have to reinvent the wheel, but look at them lately.. Nest, Songza, Motorola, Waze, etc.. they never try on their own to make improvements, they just buy someone to do it for them. And I never said no credit, I'm annoyed that they get ALL the credit for what is 90% someone else's idea. FYI google was around a while before android, in not sure what your point is, as I never gave a starting date.

Paskell says:

Its called investing in something you believe in and now it is theirs. Maybe moto should have had more money.. Sounds like your just a moto fanboy or your just bad at trollin

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Jacob Kral says:

I've never owned a Motorola device, besides my internet modem.. And I'm simply stating my opinion, which doesn't in any way equate to trolling.

Everyone else may be fine with Google in every aspect of their life, but I'm not. Sorry.

mammlouk says:

Hopefully they offer a display without a front-facing camera so that I can take the rear camera out of the phone when I get to work and be good to go!

You can't have a camera at work?

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mammlouk says:

Nope, restricted facility. There are a lot more people in this situation than you might think.

zero3187 says:

I believe it

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I work on a military base... Same for many GOV jobs. No cameras allowed at all. I had to remove the camera modules and plug the hole with epoxy so I would be allowed to bring my Note 3 into work.

Jacob Kral says:

Huh, I never thought of that.

I'd like to take off the front facer too, because I never ever use mine, and would rather replace it with better speakers or something. Or just remove it and replace it with a nicer looking blank spot (probably be cheaper too).

Jacob Kral says:

Huh, I never thought of that.

I'd like to take off the front facer too, because I never ever use mine, and would rather replace it with better speakers or something. Or just remove it and replace it with a nicer looking blank spot (probably be cheaper too).

tajlund says:

That was addressed during the dscout project. You will be able to make a build without any camera at all. Front or back.

hmmm says:

While this idea seems interesting by the geek in me, sort of like building your own custom PC, I don't see it taking off with the general public for the same reasons the general public doesn't build their own PCs.

bbalak says:

I think I disagree. The Motomaker website is proof people like to customize things. I think a phone is a little more reflective of a user's choices (different cases, screen size, launcher software) than a laptop or desktop. When people order computers, they choose their options, more or less memory, different levels of video cards, processor power, etc. Either way, time will tell if this is going to be a success. I hope it will, because I like the idea of not having to buy a new phone every 2 years to keep up with current technology.

NickLippert says:

I'm sure you'll be able to 'build' a phone online and a company will put it together and send you a complete finished phone. People will be more likely to do that than to pick all their parts and assemble it themselves.

udazavlanje says:

True

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Jacob Kral says:

This looks dead simple compared to building a pc. It's modular on a much easier level, and I'm sure the average person could go and pick their parts and just have it assembled in store.

patstar5 says:

So looking forward to this, google will own smartphone market and everyone else will fall. Well just got htc one m8 to replace my galaxy s4 and I love it! However, 4mp camera takes great pictures but lacks details... Once ara comes out I will buy it and never have to buy another phone again! I could have 8mp camera one day and 41mp the next! I could put speakers on front or back! Load it up with batteries or storage! Possibilities are endless! Come on google, don't let this project fail! This is true innovation!

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