For Alphabet (Google’s parent company) in the hardware sector, this year’s summer is not peaceful.

Following Nest is reorganized, Nexus brand was abandoned after, Google confirmed a few days ago, the phone’s modular Project Ara project will be terminated.

Since its inception in 2013, over the past three years, Project Ara lot of people learned smartphone “modular” concept, Project Ara has almost become synonymous with modular phone. But even so, it still did not go further, but the same as Google Glass, became a “meteor” Google took on the hardware.

From the “contrarian Release” to “hastily”

October 2013, Motorola (was still owned by Google) of ATAP (Advanced Technology And Projects, advanced technology and planning) department officially introduced the concept of Project Ara.

Project Ara smartphone traditional “split” into a plurality of relatively independent modules, users can purchase the corresponding modules according to their needs, to meet the needs of more personalized. When the phone’s performance is insufficient to meet demand, the user can replace individual modules corresponding to the performance of the phone, thus extending the life cycle of a mobile phone, reduce e-waste.

At the same time, mobile phone manufacturers making every effort to improve the integration of mobile phones, in the case of decreasing the thickness of the fuselage for the mobile phone “plug” into a stronger configuration, a larger battery, more features, not even to give up removable battery, a useful function as an expense. Therefore, Project Ara in Google can be said against the historical trend line approach.


But Google seems to underestimate the development of such a “revolutionary” phone difficult, due to the difficulties in product development and standardization of processes encountered in the development progress of Project Ara has been postponed again and again. For a long period of time, Project Ara delay could not get even a prototype can be normal use the external display.

A time of “bouncing” let Project Ara team began to rethink the possibility of the project itself.In the first Project Ara envisaged, SoC, memory and other core parts are detachable, allowing users in the future when hardware performance can not meet the demand to free replacement. But this year, Google I / O conference demonstrated the latest version of the prototype Project Ara, SoC, memory, screen and other core components has become a non-removable design, Google will focus shifted to a modular design to provide differentiated functionality on.


Because in product development has always been no breakthrough, coupled with the compromise on the core concept, and ATAP’s “two-year deadline” have to (no significant progress within two years of the project will often be set aside), Project Ara eventually Google will give up nothing of the accident.

While Google is likely through licensed to third-party vendors a way to extend the life of Project Ara, but Project Ara most likely result in the gradual disappearance of the long river of history, but also the disappearance of a modular design, “reducing e-waste Create hardware ecosystem “vision.

Finally, by way of the timeline to a simple review about Project Ara’s “past lives.”

September 10, 2013: In a video released by the Dutch designer Dave Hakkens depicts a modular phone Phonebloks his eyes;

October 28, 2013: Google’s Motorola was still a Project Ara project, Motorola indicates that the project has developed a year in its ATAP, and the future will Hakkens and Phonebloks communities to develop a modular phone;

January 29, 2014: Google to sell Motorola’s mobile division to Lenovo, but retains Motorola’s ATAP projects, including the Project Ara;

February 27, 2014: Google plans to release in 2015 for $ 50, but only supports Wi-Fi modular mobile phone products;

July 2, 2014: Project Ara chief designer Dan Makoski leave;

October 29, 2014: Google released the first with a working prototype Ara Spiral 1 video;

January 14, 2015: Google released a prototype of the second paragraph of Ara Spiral 2, it is equipped with 3G communication module, while Google also announced that it will begin a pilot Project Ara in Puerto Rico, is expected to officially launch the product in 2015;

June 1, 2015: Paul Eremenko Project Ara technical director leaving to join Airbus;

August 17, 2015: Google Project Ara canceled in Puerto Rico test program is expected to restart in 2016;

May 20, 2016: Google Project Ara modular phone indicates 2017 officially on sale, and promised to release developer versions in the fourth quarter of 2016;

May 28, 2016: Phonebloks founder Hakkens criticized Google will Ara phone SoC core components integrated into the framework of the phone, and feel that this approach is not conducive to reduce e-waste through a modular phone vision;

September 1, 2016: Reuters that Google is “on hold” Ara project, but also hinted that Google may put the project to a third party authorized by the company;

September 2, 2016: Google outwardly media VentureBeat confirmed that Project Ara project has been suspended.