Google's Project Ara a Bust: Customizable Phonebloks' Design Needs Improvement

By mikey b , May 30, 2016 05:30 AM EDT

The man behind the Phonebloks modular phone concept has spoken out about the progress of Project Ara. According to him, Google can do so much better than what they are currently working on.

Dave Hakkens said that Google's progress with Project Ara falls short of expectations. He imagined Phonebloks to have every single component of the smartphone to be replaceable. However, the latest news is that only optional components can be replaced and most of the key components are still embedded within the skeleton, Engadget reported.

Project Ara is offering a modular phone concept that has the processor, battery, antenna, sensor and screen to be part of the main skeleton. Optional add-ons like camera, speakers and projector are the swappable bloks.

As anyone can imagine, Hakkens' concept is much harder to execute in reality. He defended his position however and said that a company like Google is the best one to pour in resources to develop the technology as he originally saw fit.

Additionally, Hakkens also believes that Google must cooperate with other companies to create an ecosystem of modules instead of taking all the responsibility.

Hakkens commented that a modular phone that has key components still in a single skeleton would mean that users would still throw out their old phones after a while. His dream of reducing e-waste in this way is also affected.

All in all, a semi-modular phone like Project Ara is reminiscent of the LG G5. This technology, as Forbes put it, is modular in design but not in spirit. Google still has a long way to go before every part of the phone can be customizable.

Hakkens is happy about one thing: the external design. Project Ara still has the same blocky design that he first imagined. However, the praises end there.

The Phonebloks concept was first introduced in 2013. When Hakkens learned that Motorola was also pursuing the same concept, the two collaborated into what is now known as Project Ara.

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