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Will Google's Ara Be the [An]droid You're Looking For?

Google has recently announced that their new modular phone, Ara, will be released in Fall 2016. Will it live up to the dream phone thought up by Dave Hakkens?

· Mobile Zone

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I remember watching Dave Hakkens’ Phonebloks video about building a modular phone and debating whether or not it would be useful to me. At the time, I was a college student running on an hour of sleep and caffeine most days, so I dropped my phone a lot. A whole lot. The prospect of having a phone that I could replace piece by piece was very appealing. Cracked screen? No problem—replace it. Spilled coffee on part of the phone? No problem—replace it. It even meant that if my camera or battery needing upgrading, it would be easy to replace without having to buy a new phone or wait for an upgrade from my provider. I wanted it, concept or not.

Soon after, Google decided that they would get in on the modular phone idea and it was exciting. Google is innovative and all about community, so how could they go wrong? But they did. Google recently announced the Ara which will be coming out in Fall 2016, and they have completely abandoned Hakkens’s entire point—to have a phone that was completely modular. Instead, Google has decided to make it with only some modular parts such as the camera and speaker. This means that the base of the phone housing the CPU and storage is all still one piece; ergo, if any of those parts need to be replaced I’ll have to buy a new phone altogether.

I think Hakkens had it right from the get-go. There should be a phone that not only has interchangeable parts for replacement, but for upgrading and customizing to fit your needs. A lot of people I know don’t use their Bluetooth, so why have it built-in when they could upgrade their CPU instead for the gaming that they want to do? What if I drop my phone and just need a new screen? I’m going to have to buy a whole new phone now if I buy the Ara. In my opinion, this is pretty much useless.

The Ara seems like a phone that would be appealing to a photographer or music fanatic, but not to a clumsy person like me. I think I’ll just stick to buying a nice case for my current phone, which seems like a cheaper option.

What do you guys think? Will Ara be worth the purchase? Let us know in the comments section.

The Mobile Zone is brought to you in partnership with Strongloop and IBM.  Visually compose APIs with easy-to-use tooling. Learn how IBM API Connect provides near-universal access to data and services both on-premises and in the cloud.


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