‘Modular’ was one of our favourite words at CES this year and thankfully we don’t have to quit it anytime soon. Development on Google’s modular phone, Project Ara, rolls on and the company is busy preparing for its first developer conference this month.
We already know that modules will be distributed via a special marketplace not unlike the Play Store where they can be rated and reviewed by users. Now we know that users will be able to manage their modules via a special app. GigaOm reports that this app will allow them to view specs and information related to the modules currently in place as well as initiate module swaps. As we mentioned before, everything but the battery and the display can be swapped without switching the device off.
One of the biggest complaints about the Play Store is its reputation for clutter thanks to a less stringent app approval process. If the above description has you worried that the Ara Marketplace may be full of sketchy components, you don’t need to worry because it seems each and every module will also be evaluated by Google.
GigaOm points to the Ara MDK, which states that Google requires developers provide a CAD model, 2D drawings, power draw and discharge rates in XML, and various other performance specs. There’s also guidelines on best practices for design best practices and how much power a single module is allowed to draw.
A market pilot for Project Ara is scheduled for early this year. Hopefully by the time Mobile World Congress rolls around there will be more information on that.