Google Puts Project Ara Modular Phone Idea To Bed

If you want to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. And sometimes, when you are trying a new recipe, you have a few shells and the omelet is not that great. And sometimes you burn the eggs and you have to start over.

Sometimes, though, you just don’t have the right recipe, and nobody wants to order your omelet.

This seems to be the case with Google’s impressively novel Project Ara. This project, of course, was designed to develop modular smartphones that would allow for consumers to switch out components as they choose. The project has suffered long delays and now, apparently, also a complete lack of interest from consumers.

While some folks, really do appreciate the merit of a phone that you can truly customize as you see fit, most consumers demand simplicity in their mobile devices—and, unfortunately, companies have to design products on a mass-production scale and not for the niche of consumers who might actually want them.

If you are not familiar with Project Ara, this was a highly speculated mobile phone design and development idea that would let you swap out components of the phone. You could switch out the processor for better streaming video or gaming; or you could install a different camera for on the go photos. Basically, instead of buying a completely new phone (and having to wait two years at a time to do it), you could upgrade the parts as you see fit.

Most people, apparently, would prefer to just be told which new model is the best, walk into a store to buy it, and then walk out with it fully operational.

For people like me, who despises having to pay for a new phone that has several hardware and software features I will never use, modular phones might have been the perfect choice. However, the concept of a modular phone has never really been a functional one.

In theory, yes, this is a great idea but in a disposable era—particularly one in which technology is growing so fast it is nearly impossible to keep up—upgrading pieces of your standard phone might not actually be a smart investment in the long run.

As service providers continue to lure consumers with free device upgrades (in exchange for your 24-month contract), the price you might pay to upgrade your modular phone over the same time period could greatly outweigh the benefits.