Google Is Working On A Modular Smartphone Again
Google suspended the overly ambitious Project ARA in 2016, putting the dream of getting a fully modular smartphone to rest. Since then, we have seen smartphone makers try and recreate modularity and to an extent, they have succeeded too. Motorola launched the Moto Mods in 2016 as a way to attach accessories to improve the functionality of the smartphone. Now fresh patents filed by Google show that they are also working on a similar project to make a smartphone fully modular.
The patent was filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization or WIPO and was published on January 31, 2019. The patent is titled “MODULAR DEVICE AND METHODS THEREFOR”. This could mean that the next Google device may arrive with the option for modularity.
Google And Project ARA
When Google acquired Motorola, it used its patents to develop a modular smartphone concept. This eventually gave birth to Project ARA in 2014. It focussed on arranging the essential components of smartphones in modules or blocks. The idea was to replace the modules for better ones whenever an update was required. The project was short lived and was finally shelved in 2016. When Google finally sold Motorola to Lenovo, it kept most of the patents with themselves. Motorola, under Lenovo, launched Moto Mods in 2016 which was another idea on making smartphones modular.
It is completely possible that the concepts we are seeing in the patents once belonged to Motorola. Now that Google is has filed a patent for a modular technology in a smartphone, it might mean that a device in the near future may include this concept. A patent doesn’t necessarily translate into a finished product or a promise of there ever being one. It would just mean that Google is toying with the idea and it may make it to a consumer product in the future.
But an idea like this is still exciting to look at. Maybe Google will eventually release a foldable smartphone or maybe it will get shelved again like its predecessor. But the fact that a shelved project is being experimented with again, makes it exciting and worth looking forward to.
You can view the patent listing by Google here.