Phonebloks has released a video from the Google lab where the Project Ara modular smartphone is being built, showing for the first time a working prototype booting up.
Project Ara was first outed by Motorola in October last year
as a plan to commercialise the Phonebloks concept of modular smartphone components that could be connected to an endoskeleton to customise the capabilities of the device to the user's whims. When Google bought Motorola's mobile arm and then sold it on to Lenovo, one of the things it kept - along with a healthy patent portfolio - was Project Ara, promising it would commercialise the project
in due course. That translated into the promise of a January launch
, but with October fast running out the company has thus far shown little more than non-functional design prototypes and rendered mock-ups.
Now, a new video demonstrates a working prototype of an Ara smartphone booting up - proving that the modular design can result in a usable device. Published by Phonebloks, which first came up with the modular phone concept that would become Ara, the video was shot in Boston's NK Labs and clearly demonstrates that the project has reached working-prototype stage.
Google itself has announced that it will be holding a Project Ara Module Developers Conference in January, during which it will share the latest news on the project as well as releasing the next iteration of its Module Developers Kit - the software and specification bundle required for companies and individuals who want to design Ara-compatible add-on hardware. While it has said it will be showing off the latest prototype at the time, it has not however indicated that it will be releasing any hardware at the event; instead it says it will 'share early plans for a market pilot in 2015
' suggesting that its January launch schedule was a little optimistic.
The Project Ara prototype can be seen in the below video, shared by Phonebloks.