Google's Ara Phone Promises to Provide Exactly the Phone You Need
NEWS ANALYSIS: The modular design of Google's Ara smartphone probably won’t be as cheap as the hype would indicate, but it may save money by eschewing features you don’t want to pay for.Google's announcement to developers that it would introduce the Ara, a new modular smartphone that would cost $50 in its most basic form has grabbed the blogosphere's attention in a huge way. There's a good reason. The idea of being able to swap out phone modules is incredibly cool for all of us geeks. There are, however, good reasons such a phone might do well if it's delivered in something close to the form that Google told developers to expect. The idea is to create a basic chassis (or what some are calling an exoskeleton) that would hold the phone's modules together and provide the necessary data and power connections for the modules to function. It's likely that there will be more than one such chassis design, perhaps several, in different sizes and capabilities. Some basic modules, such as the processor and memory module, would be required. There would also be modules for the battery and screen. But some modules would be optional, so the buyout could select different processors or cameras. This is important because, in addition to being cool, it would let you tailor your company's phones to meet your specific needs. In fact, you could choose different modules for different jobs within your company. You might want to exclude cameras for your hardware development team, for example, but include them for the PR and marketing departments.
Likewise, your employees could swap out modules to meet their needs. Perhaps you have staff that will be traveling overseas and they need GSM radios in their phones. They would have them when they need them and then switch to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) radios to work in parts of the United States where GSM coverage is spotty.