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Google calls it quits on Project Ara's modular smartphones

(Image credit: Image Credit: Turtix / Shutterstock)

 In order to help streamline its hardware division, Google is officially suspending Project Ara which had originally set out to build a modular smartphone that could be customised and upgraded piece by piece.

Last May during the company's developer conference, it announced a number of partners for the project and announced that it was planning to ship a developer edition of its modular smartphone this autumn. Google had even planned to test market its new Project Ara devices in Puerto Rico to see how keen consumers were on the idea of a modular smartphone.

The project was started in an effort to giver users more control over the hardware inside their devices. If Project Ara had come to fruition, users would be able to easily customise a number of the components inside their smartphones such as the battery, camera and speakers. These changes could even be made on the fly which would have allowed one to swap out modules depending on how they planned to use their phone on a daily basis.

Google has not given up on the technology behind Project Ara and we could perhaps see Project Ara partners bringing modular smartphones to market through possible licensing agreements.

Currently the company is aiming to unify its hardware efforts which are currently spread across Chrome laptops and desktops, the Nexus line of Smartphones and other consumer electronics such as the Chromecast and its Google Home Bluetooth speaker.

Despite the end of Project Ara, the initial idea was widely received as positive by the tech community who saw it as a means of prolonging the life of smartphones while giving consumers more freedom to choose the parts they wanted in their devices.

Image Credit: Turtix / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.