Report: Google Scrapping Modular Smartphone Project

Image courtesy of Great Beyond

Remember that fancy-pants, fully modular, user-customizable smartphone Google was working on? Well, if you do, you may as well go ahead and forget it now, because the project has been cancelled.

Project Ara — Google’s long-promised modular smartphone — is now scrapped, as Reuters reports.

It’s a little bit of a surprise because as recently as May, Google was announcing a whole bunch of partners for the components, and had said it would be shipping the developer version of the phone this fall. The ever-popular “person with knowledge of the matter” told Reuters that some of the tech may still see the light of day through licensing agreements.

That means that modular phones still remain something of a pipe dream. When it comes to smart phones, we’re usually buying products that are as uncustomizable as it is possible for a computer to be, at least on the hardware side. In many models you can’t even so much as swap out a failing battery anymore without specialized help, let alone anything more advanced.

But there’s a good reason for that: it’s a lot easier to produce a single-model phone than a whole bunch of parts that can be hot-swapped in and out. So in that sense, Google learned what a lot of other companies already guessed: some things aren’t quite worth the effort.

Exclusive: Google shelves plan for phone with interchangeable parts – sources [Reuters]

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