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Google kills Project Ara modular smartphone ambitions

Google Project Ara

Google has given up on its Project Ara modular ambitions after years of struggling to build a product for mass consumption going by a new report. It’s apparently decided to throw in the towel as part of an ongoing effort to streamline its hardware efforts.

To recap, Project Ara was first announced in 2013 as a Motorola initiative. The company has since gone on to launch its own Moto Mods lineup of accessories to be attached to the back of the Moto Z series of phones. However, Google’s take on the modular smartphone took things one step further, envisioning a fully customizable product which would have space for 6 swappable modules.

These units were supposed to be able to bless the handset with features like a bigger battery, speakers or high-resolution camera simply by attaching it to a slot. Google had claimed as much at its I/O conference back in May this year. It even asserted that it would release a developer version of the device by Q4 2016 and a consumer one by 2017.

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All this appears to have gone down the drain now. Two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that Google has suspended Project Ara. However, the firm may still team up with partners to bring the enterprise’s technology to market through licensing agreements, though it won’t actually release a full-fledged phone like it intended to.

Google is currently in the midst of a process to unify its numerous hardware efforts from Nexus handsets to Chromebooks. Project Ara was apparently among the first to go, an unfortunate state of affairs given it was one of the brand’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group’s flagship efforts.