Project Ara director Paul Eremenko recently announced at a Linaro conference that the Ara platform will be able to hot-swap almost any component with the exception of the CPU and display. That includes the memory, storage, battery, camera, WiFi/cellular module or whatever any other module an Ara user may have. Linaro, a non-profit, helped the Ara team make the modules hot-swappable.
Because Project Ara is a completely modular device, you will be able to switch all of its components for new and improved ones without having to buy a new phone, as everyone does now. If you need the highest-end mobile processor out there, for example, you can just buy that processor module and upgrade the handset with it.
Or if you want a 40 MP camera like the one we saw in the Pureview 808 and Lumia 1020, you could also get that (as long as there’s a component manufacturer offering that option). The same goes for battery, storage, memory, new WiFi technology and so on. Ara will be infinitely customizable, which should make for some interesting devices, not just from a feature point of view, but from a design point of view, as well.
If Project Ara is successful, having truly customizable phones could be just the beginning. The project could evolve in unforeseen ways beyond just smartphones; we could see components that are specifically made for work in hospitals and aid doctors in treating patients, for example.
Ara may start as a modular smartphone, but it’s ultimately a blank-slate electronic platform that could turn into different kind of devices.
Paul Eremenko also said that Ara will be using a modified version of Android L in order to support the hot-swappable components, which will be available in a store similar to the Play Store. Project Ara devices should arrive on the market early next year.