‘s oject Ara smartphone project shows signs of life

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 24 Mar 2016

’s oject Ara modular smartphone project is showing signs of life after a long lull, though it’s not certain when the customizable smartphones will be available.

The oject Ara b site sports a new look, with the redesigned front page carrying the project’s new logo. There’s also a new email address, with which oject Ara developers can communicate with .

There’s no other page on the site now. Gone are the pages where developers could download software development kits request Spiral boards on which modules could be tested.

The site update may be a sign that is positioning itself to make oject Ara announcements. Updates could come at the I/O trade show, to be held May 18 to 20 in Mountain View, California. 

has said that inspiration for oject Ara came from the popular go toy bricks. Users can purchase a basic smartphone frame build a hset by snapping on hardware blocks on the frame. Blocks represent key components of a smartphone such as -Fi, camera, processor, battery or fingerprint reader.

The price of a basic oject Ara smartphone frame with a screen was pegged at $50, with modules costing extra.

did not return requests for comment on the status of oject Ara. The smartphone’s release was delayed after initial plans for a debut in erto Rico were scrapped. said it would test the smartphone in the U.S. starting this year.

in recent months has taken the project underground. It hasn’t communicated project updates some developers haven’t received Spiral development boards they requested.

To ’s silence, one poster in a module forum on Groups said “ has gone Apple on us.”

en Motorola Mobility announced oject Ara in 2013, it was viewed as a revolutionary idea to help users make smartphones that can be easily upgraded. subsequently acquired Motorola Mobility, oject Ara along with it. But other companies have now jumped ahead of .

’s new G5 smartphone, introduced at Mobile rld Congress, has some modular functionality for cameras audio, though it isn’t as customizable as oject Ara. The Fairphone 2 is another customizable phone; it can be ordered but hasn’t started shipping. 

There are still many questions surrounding oject Ara. It’s not certain how will certify modules. in addition, one of oject Ara’s main module developers, Toshiba, is considering selling its chip business.

During oject Ara’s silent period, another project from ’s Advanced Technology ojects (ATA team, called oject Tango—which brings augmented reality to mobile devices—has gained steam. novo announced a oject Tango smartphone that will come later this year starting at under $500.