Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Science & Technology

Ever wanted to pull your phone apart to upgrade certain features? Meet Google’s Project Ara

EVER thought it might be easier to have a phone whose features you could just pull apart?

Instead of buying a brand new phone, Project Ara‘s vision is to improve individual features by buying a better camera or a battery with a longer battery life to attach to your existing phone. Constantly upgrading.

The concept of the modular smartphone has been around for a while now, but it was the preserve of crackpot independent developers like Dave Hakkens.

When a video promoting his Phonebloks concept went viral last year, the general response was that it was a good idea that would never take off. That is, until now.

Completely customisable

Recently, Google took a bold step by launching a new website dedicated to Project Ara, a modular smartphone concept which is very similar to Phonebloks.

They have detailed their plans to hold three Ara Developers’ Conferences this year, the first of which will take place in mid-April.

The website contains a clear and daring mission statement for the project: a phone that could be used as a ‘creative canvas to tell your own story’.

The idea behind modular smartphones is simple. Rather than being made of a single part like current smartphones are, it’s made up of several different ‘modules’, each of which has a different purpose: one is the camera, another is the battery, and so on.

All of the modules can be removed, so it’s completely customisable – if you want a bigger battery, a better camera, more storage space or pretty much anything else, you just take out the old module and put a new one in.

Electronic waste

People have the ability to customise their computers by installing a better graphics card or more RAM, and now that phones are essentially very small computers it seems only fair that similar personalisation should be possible with them, too.

The limitless configurations are not the only advantage: it’s also much less wasteful than current methods.

Rather than throwing away an entire device once it becomes damaged or obsolete, you can simply get rid of the broken or outdated components without wasting the rest of the device.

It makes a lot of sense – normally, when a device breaks, it is only a single component which is at fault. It doesn’t really make sense to discard a whole device because one part of it packed in, especially when the amount of electronic waste is increasing every year.

Google’s intention is clear: technology by the people, for the people. However, it’s difficult to see how much we should buy into their rhetoric.

The idea is a long way from being finalised, and it’s not clear whether it will end up as the next big step in smartphone technology or nothing more than a gimmick.

Still, this is undoubtedly one of the most exciting developments in mobile technology since the invention of the smartphone.

King's College London. Award-winning student newspaper, a platform to share your story, and a publication that holds entities accountable when no one else dares.


Women's Football


Staff Writer Grace Holloway writes how despite recent successes, women’s football is still far from equal with the men’s. Women’s football has become increasingly...

Wisteria on a white wall with a window Wisteria on a white wall with a window


Staff Writer Charlotte Galea takes a look at the new season of the famed Netflix show and concludes that giving up on historical accuracy...

Protesters in favour of Ali as KCLSU president on Strand campus Protesters in favour of Ali as KCLSU president on Strand campus

KCLSU & Societies

Advait Joshi, who received the second most votes in the King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) March elections, has refused to assume the office...


Staff writer Douglas Gibb scrutinizes the First-Past-The-Post system and its impact on true representative democracy in the wake of the recent UK elections. On...


Sports Editor Sam Lord reviews the defining moments and controversies from Euro 2024 in Germany. As English and Spanish fans return home from the...


Staff writer and CAMERA on Campus fellow Patrick Schnecker argues that university campuses have experienced a growing culture of antisemitism in recent years. For...

Creative Corner

Creative Corner is a space to share your creative writing at Roar! We hope you’ll enjoy the short stories we publish, all of which...


Roar writer Aman Patel on Australia’s newly proposed Big Tech restrictions and the undue power such firms hold over news publications. We have all been...


Roar writer Alex Blank on Facebook’s decision to change its logo to capital letters.  If I see another ‘I’ toned-down in written form, I...