Google's Project Ara is part of it's ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects group) team, which cares also about about Project Tango and was started of the part of Motorola, Google didn't sold to Lenovo. Ara is going to be a more or less modular smartphone, where you can swap different â€œmodulesâ€ to fit the current needs of the phone.
The Ara frame contains all the functionality of a smartphone plus six flexible slots for easy swapping.
Ara modules fit neatly into the frame, allowing for upgrades, innovation and style.
So like stated above, the frame contains things like CPU, GPU, sensor and more (all what's at least needed for a smartphone). But it also has place for six extra modules like a second display, an extra speaker or anything else.
Now it seems, that Project Ara comes closer to reality.
I'm a little bit sad, that Ara isn't becoming a â€œrealâ€ modular smartphone, where it's also possible to change the CPU etc. because that's often the reason why people buy new phones (and not the extra modules).
It isn't clear to how software updates etc. will work with the phone. Is Ara always getting the latest Android, like the Nexus devices, or will it get a special modified Android version, which isn't going to be updated so fast? We don't know yetâ€¦
The first developer edition is announced for starting shipping in fall 2016. We'll see if hey follow their wordâ€¦
But I think the project has a very big potential, specially because it may be much more friendly to the environment, when you'll only buy a new module instead a new phone every half year.
Here are some nice images you can enjoy, if you're already excited about the â€œmodular smartphoneâ€: