Modular phones have been an interesting topic discussed in the mobile community for years and Google has been the leader in design and research for a fully modular phone with their project: Ara that they have been working on for the past few years. Although recently Google made an announcement that they will be halting (at least for now) research and production related to Ara. Personally this came as a big surprise, as Google has said that they will be releasing a developer version this fall and a consumer version in 2017.
At this point it feels like other companies like LG and Motorola have beaten Google in the modular phone race with the LG G5 and the Moto Z. Although they do not have nearly as many customization options as Ara would have had from what we’ve seen, they are modular phones to an extent, and even if you take into account the mods that they have put out, they aren’t even that useful or appealing to the general public, they were still able to create some kind of working modular system. Another thing that was reported was that they might be selling the technology and research that they have been working on to other companies so that they can carry it on or even make their own product.
Although Google didn’t cancel the project for no reason, they have stated that the small technical issues and the cost of the device were contributing factors as to why they decided to stop production. Another reason as to why Google might have made this decision is because maybe getting other manufacturers on board with the idea, although most companies would spring at any opportunity to work with Google, the high manufacturing cost and maybe even the niche technology might have pushed away certain manufacturers.
All in all I think that this was a rash move by Google, Although there were multiple delays, the things that Google unveiled regarding project Ara were really cool and interesting pieces of technology that I was excited to maybe see in my hand one day. So although the ideal image of a modular phone is gone from Google, we still have companies like LG and Motorola that have already shown off their attempts at a modular phone, it’s interesting to what we will see next and from who.