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Google retires its efforts to develop modular smartphone ‘Project Ara’, licensing still an option: Report

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Have you been day-dreaming or waiting for the day to use a fully modular smartphone, wishing to switch out the normal camera with a thermal one? Well, i’m extremely sad to say this, but your dreams might never become a reality — atleast not in the coming year or two.

After three years of rigorous R&D and prototyping, Google(previously Motorola) has reportedly given up its ambition to manufacture the world’s first modular smartphone with readily interchangeable components. The infamous Project Ara is now dead, according to Reuters.

Alphabet Inc. is focusing on a serious and broader push to streamline the company’s hardware efforts, say two people aware of the development. This is a serious blow to our aspirations of owning a modular smartphone.

Google had recently sparked our interest when it announced that they are very close to making Ara a tangible consumer product, at I/O 2016. Though the company had made the phone less modular by securely embedding the processor and screen into the chassis, but the back modules were still swappable. It had also announced a host of manufacturing partners and a tentative release date for the developer kit — early 2017.

Project Ara was one of the flagship efforts of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects(ATAP) group, which aims to develop new devices. It is the same group of people who’ve developed the portable spacial mapping tech. ‘Tango‘ .

While Google has given up and will not release a customizable smartphone itself, but the reference designs and technology are still open for licensing. It may decide to work with multiple partners to bring Project Ara’s technology to market, says one of the sources.

This might have been a failed science experiment for Google, but the team surely would have had  fun developing something so trendy and new. They’re now moving on to work on other hardware projects, which may include the in-house designed and built Nexus phones. These will probably be compatible with company’s ‘DayDream‘ VR project. It has also released a detailed reference design for its headset and upcoming controller.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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