Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) recently shared images of a prototype of the Project Ara smartphone during the I/O event. It is important to point out that Project Ara was initially concept art from late 2013. Nonetheless, it is still impressive considering just how fast Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects(ATAP) group created a working prototype.

Google Ara

A closer look at the Google’s Project Ara prototype

The prototype, which is dubbed Spiral 1, looks like a finished device save for the fact the power switch needs to be shortened. The device was powered during the I/O event although the gadget did crash. Ara’s chief Paul Eremenko introduced the Spiral 1 and shared technical details on how to build a modular phone. He explained the current prototype utilizes FPGAs to effect the industry standard UniPro MIPI packet-switched network protocol to provide something of an interconnect between models. The antennae modules utilize the metal phone chassis to give reception a boost.

The internal components of the phone

As expected, the Ara phone will be powered by Android operating system which will be updated to support third-part module hotplugging. The Ara is kind of like the analog for Android’s ecosystem. Eremenko talked about the project’s biggest barrier. He said the main challenge to modularity is overhead. He elaborated further when he explained that a modern data protocol, Moore’s law, and miniaturization of electromechanical components could lower the modularity penalty system by a quarter across the board. He also gave more details on the electropermanent magnets that keep the modules in place as well as the socket connectors. He made a mention of battery technologies which now feature battery chemistries with triple the energy density of standard batteries and a reduced cycle life. These batteries won’t last more than 300 recharges.

Users who want better power for their smartphone could switch out the batteries for high energy batteries which would require more frequent batter switches.

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