And they said it would never happen.
Google has posted a video that provides a few more details of its "Project Ara" modular smartphone effort, perhaps to drum up interest in the upcoming Ara Developers Conference to be held later this month. Google's Project Ara 'Phonebloks' phone Want to upgrade your Wi-Fi from 802.11n to 802.11ac? There should be a module …
Yes, but there really only 2 things you can upgrade on a laptop. HDD and RAM, both of which can only give a small performance increase and requires screw drivers and some knowledge.
If you can swap Graphics, CPU and so on as easily as you would a fridge magnet then its a big difference.
Laptop screens do not tend to break anything like as much as phones.
About the only easily replaceable part (For your average user) would be the battery or maybe the hard disk. Replacement hard disks are the only one universal in size and they are stocked in every hardware store.
If you could easily slide out the processor, ram, gpu etc it would be a different story.
Where I snap the PnP parts I want on the baseplate back cover, which includes the replaceable battery and removable flash memory, add filler blocks as needed, then snap on the front cover display/touchpad (or 2/3 display if using the BB-style keyboard). A quarter turn at the locking post holes with the supplied tool, done.
Anything less just doesn't seem "modular" enough.
This has so many uses beyond phones.
Home computing (word processing, browsing etc) - Being able to assemble a low-spec PC from either new modules or cast-off modules you do not need any more could decimate the consumer desktop market.
Home entertainment (IPTV / XBMC etc) - Though I think some of the maturity of some of these apps is there yet, this is definitely an emerging market. Also it makes it very easy for TV makers to include optional (and upgradeable) Android functionality in TVs.
Gaming (Console / Casual / Mobile) - It would be very easy to make a gaming machine by shaping the endo like a game controller.
It could also be a way to get a slice of the console market without actually releasing a console.
It's also good for small businesses - they can bring modules to market without having to design a whole device.
Possibly a very shrewd move by Google with regards to Apple.
It distances them design-wise from Apple, with a feature that if Apple implemented, would hurt their business model badly.
So many potential wins for Google, they would be mad not to pursue it.
Forget the battery, display, CPU, RAM, GPU, WiFi, and all that boilerplate. Within 2 years your phone will be so obsolete that no upgrades will be compatible. The one thing that needs ultra-rapid upgrades is the radio. At least in the US, spectrum shuffles around at least once a year. You're on legacy bands or kicked down to 3G before the phone is paid off.
The problem is, most of the different components of a phone a better housed on a single chip. Yes, you CAN increase the modularity, by having bluetooth/wifi/cell on different modules, but if it comes at an increase in cost, what's the point?
I'd be happy just keeping screens and batteries modular.
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