Google’s Modular Phone will be interesting and more expensive for Phones but for modular robots and phone based devices like medical tricorders, Ara will be a killer.

Project Ara is Google’s attempt to reinvent the cellphone as we know it. Instead of a slab of glass and metal that you have no ability to upgrade, save for buying a new device, it’s an attempt to launch a phone where all of the main components are interchangeable via modules that click in and out, attaching via electro-permanent magnets. Despite being highly customizable, it will only come in three main sizes, helping to eliminate the kind of device fragmentation that currently plagues Android. Google plans to roll out a “gray model,” a very basic device that costs as little as $50, as well as higher-end handsets that could go for as much as $500 and up. The former will be released first — around this time next year if all goes according to plan — and will likely be a smaller, Wi-Fi-only version. This bare-bones model will be followed by the higher-end ones eventually. But Google’s initial objective is to ramp up a hardware ecosystem that moves at the same pace as the software it runs.

Google is targeting January 2015 for the first Ara phone endoskeleton. For $50 you’d only get a bare-bones Project Ara endoskeleton, of course — you don’t even get a display.

The first Ara Developers Conference was held April 15-16, 2014.

Smartphone based devices like the Scanadu medical Tricorder will get a big boost from Ara

Smartphone based devices like the medical tricorder will be greatly enabled by the Ara modular phone California-based Scanadu is developing a health-checking scanner packed with sensors called Scout, which the user holds up to their head to check their vitals. The firm says it will be able to measure heart rate, skin and core body temperatures, respiratory rate and blood oxygen levels among other readings. It has no screen of its own, but relies on a smartphone app to interpret the data in order to warn of potential problems

Modular robotics based upon smartphones or tablets will have a lot more flexibility

iRobot Ava 500 is a robot with a tablet for head.

The Android car is a DIY smartphone based robotic platform

The Android Car is a DIY open project where was included an Android smartphone, an R/C wheeled robot platforms, several sensors, a set of free software plus many more free libraries for test, to control the wheeled robot remotely over Bluetooth, streaming the data, the application server that runs on a PC, and the main application that runs on the Android Car

Ara Modules will also be created via 3D printing for rapid prototyping and small run manufacturing

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