When we last looked in on the Phoneblok modular smartphone, it was just a concept video. Fast-forward to 2015 and it's...a new concept video.
But the project is in fact moving forward, and with a lot more juice than before. "Phonebloks" has been re-dubbed "Project Ara" under the auspices of its new master, Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group, who have released a Module Developers Kit for those looking to design components that will plug into the phone's endoskeleton.
With a modular platform, you can pick the camera you want for your phone rather than picking your phone for the camera. You could have a sensor to test if water is clean. You could have a battery that lasts for days. A really awesome speaker. A gamer phone. Or it could even be your car key. The possibilities are limitless.
You can upgrade different parts of your phone when you need too. Replace a broken display. Save up for a high-end camera. Share a module with your family, or swap one with your friends. Now you don't have to throw your phone away every few years.
GATP expects to launch a pilot program this year. And for interested parties, tomorrow the Project Ara team will be livestreaming their Singapore-based developer's conference. You can sign up to watch it here.