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Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone just got real

Published Apr 10th, 2014 1:04PM EDT
Project Ara Module Developers Kit

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Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone has always been an interesting idea for the future of smartphones, although it never really seemed like a commercial product would be available anytime soon. However, Google’s ATAP division is moving quite fast and the first module developers will soon be able to devise their own modular smartphone concepts. In anticipation of the first Project Ara developers conference that takes place next week, Google has released the MDK – short for Module Developer Kit – that describes the project in great detail.

In other words, Project Ara seems to be more real than ever. The available documentation goes into great detail, describing what devs have to know about Project Ara in order to create their own smart blocks.

Google also shows the various potential designs of Project Ara, both when it comes to size, but also to module placement. A recent video has also shared more details about what future Project Ara configurations will have to offer, as it was likely looking at a page of the MDK. What’s not immediately clear is how developers will actually build these modules and make them available to consumers.

The MDK can be downloaded by anyone interested in potentially developing modules for Ara, and the documentation should further be updated in the future. “This is a very early version but our goals are to give the developer community an opportunity to provide feedback and input, and to help us ensure that the final MDK – anticipated at the end of 2014 – is elegant, flexible, and complete,” Google ATAP’s Paul Eremenko, head of Project Ara, wrote on Google+.

The following images from the MDK show different versions of Project Ara phones Google has imagined, based on the way endoskeletons are built.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.