3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) signed a deal with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) to produce 3D-printed modules for the search engine giant’s Project Ara in November. The customizable smartphone is expected to ship by the first half of 2015. 3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental said Thursday at the Inside 3D Printing conference in New York that the building blocks of Ara will start shipping early next year.
3D Systems to make key components of Ara phones
With Project Ara, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) is working on a configurable smartphone. Users can add the hardware features they want by simply attaching modular parts. Upon purchase, you will get an empty smartphone frame. And then you can insert the hardware components of your choice on the back of it. For instance, if you want a longer run time for your smartphone, you can pull out the camera.
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3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) will make the plastic parts, including the circuitry.The Rock Hill, South Carolina-based company will also print custom designs on the surface of the blocks. That way, buyers can get the look they want. According to a Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) video shown at the conference, the Mountain View-based company is also working with another firm on an app that will help customers design artwork for their devices. The search engine giant is also currently experimenting with a version of Android for the Ara smartphone.
Google relying on 3D Systems’ technology
The video shows that the smartphone will have electro-permanent magnets to hold each hardware component in place. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) is relying on 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD)’s 3D-printing techniques to make the Ara phones fully customizable. 3D printers have been used to produce a wide range of products from toys to components of aircraft engines.
3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) has ramped up its manufacturing capacity over the past few years. The company has also made multiple strategic acquisitions. Reichental said he is confident that 3D Systems will be able to meet the demand for Ara parts.
3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) shares were down 0.94% to $55.93 at 11:37 AM EDT on Friday.