Project Ara: Inside Google’s Modular Smartphone

Harry McCracken:

For instance, when Samsung announced the Galaxy S5 this week, its headline improvements included a better camera, a fingerprint scanner and a heart-rate monitor. In a world of modular phones, you might be able to pick any or all of those features and add them to the phone you already have. You’d even be able to pick among multiple cameras, or choose quirky features not meant for the masses. (Eremenko’s playful example: an on-phone incense burner.)

I’ll believe it when I see it, where by “it” I mean “a compelling commercial product based on this”.

Sure, Samsung put a fingerprint sensor in the Galaxy S5. But look at how Apple did it: with an integrated secure enclave that required a custom designed A7 SoC. How does this have any more mass market appeal than building one’s own PC? And with mobile devices, size and weight matter more than ever, and reductions in size and weight can only come through integration.

Thursday, 27 February 2014