You may have heard of Google’s plan to introduce a modular smart phone. First announced in 2014, the project—nicknamed Ara—promised to be different from other hardware by allowing users to swap out features for a more customizable experience.
After several false starts, Google is prepared to unveil Ara to consumers in 2017. And the modular feature is probably going to be far more intriguing than anyone expected.
According to CNet, Google developers plan to ship the cell with a base set of features: expanded memory, an e-ink display, speakers, and a camera. Simple enough. But they expect third-party manufacturers to target niche demographics no other cell phone could match. Diabetic? Ara can handle a snap-on glucometer. Parking garages make you nervous? A one-shot pepper spray canister could be available. Music fan? You can hook up premium speakers and multiple batteries to create a highly portable boom box.
Google says companies behind car key fobs, air quality testers, and breathalyzers are also backing Ara. The phone is expected to sell for a price comparable to other deluxe smart phones when it arrives—hopefully—next year.