In an interview with Wired, Rafa Camargo, Ara's technical project lead, demonstrated how far Ara has come.
He picks the black phone up from the white table in front of him, flips it over, and taps the power button. It turns on. Next, he picks up a camera module from the table, pops it into the phone, opens the camera app, and quickly takes a crisp photo. “There’s your camera, live,” Camargo says.
About 30 people within Google's Advanced Technologies and Products Division are already using Ara as their primary phone.
The current device being demonstrated is a prototype and bulkier than the final version that Google plans to ship to customers next year. The team has been working over the past year to standardize the modules so developers could actually start to build them. The connectors were redesigned to support constant connecting and reconnecting and a proprietary port was created that uses the UniPro standard. The phone will have six of these ports and each can push up to 11.9 gigabits of data per seconds.
Blaise Bertrand, ATAP’s master of creative, also showed Wired a non-working prototype that was sleeker in design but still thicker and chunkier than they'd like. Bertrand is confident that thin and clean are adjectives he can work with.
The developer edition of Ara will be a 5.3-inch fairly high end device that can function as a normal Android phone. The frame contains the CPU, GPU, antennas, sensors, battery and display. Google is looking to developers to help create modules ahead of its consumer launch.
“The key here,” Camargo says, “is to develop the functionality you don’t get on your smartphone today. I’ll give you the smartphone, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
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Read More [via Wired]