Project Ara to return: Facebook might revive Google's modular smartphone experiment
Facebook's experimental division is reportedly exploring modular smartphone technology akin to that first envisioned by Google's Project Ara team. Several Ara members now work within the walls of Facebook's secretive Building 8.
A patent filing published earlier this week revealed Facebook has created a design for a modular hardware device that would include telephony capabilities. While a patent filing alone doesn't demonstrate work is ongoing, the presence of people involved with Google's Project Ara inside Building 8 suggests there could be a connection.
If Facebook really is working on reviving modular smartphone tech, Ara or something similar could be set to return as the future of mobile devices. Ara was anticipated by many as a next-gen approach to smartphones with a longer product lifecycle and more choice for the consumer. The project was shuttered by Google last year after long delays and technical problems beset the technology.
Modular smartphones would theoretically let you choose where to spend your money on a device, allowing you to specify different processors, cameras and batteries to fit your usage. So far, they remain the vision of a select few within Silicon Valley though. There have been no major launches of modular devices and they have no consumer presence. Perhaps that could still change if Facebook's patent filing actually leads to a new device.
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