Apple and Samsung have been battling it out for who can make the most personalized phones. Both of their ad campaigns, like many others, aim at making the consumer feel as though if they buy this phone, the phone will be able to suit their needs (depending on apps and such). And of course they are right in saying that their phones have the ability to suit their needs. But how personalized are these phones actually?
Tuesday, Google announced that they are in the process of creating a “modular” phone. According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, the Google modular cell phone smartphone that consumers can configure with different features. However, instead of downloading apps to suit the user’s needs, the Google modular phone will use different inserts or “modules” in the back of their phone in order for their users to gain maximum utility.
Designers of Google’s new smartphone project said on Tuesday, “the modules would fit into a metal “endoskeleton” designed for the phone, which Google calls Project Ara. Flat rectangular “modules” can be slotted into this frame, where they will be held in place by magnets.”
Each module would then have the ability to perform a different task. Different modules could be for batteries, cameras, wireless antennas, and even blood sugar monitors. With Google, of course, the possibilities are endless.
Kaigham Gabriel, deputy director of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group, which developed the concept for the phone, said in the very first press conference on Tuesday “The existing way of making smartphones is mature. But there are new ways of making phones.”
There is no word yet on how much Google is planning to charge for these modular smartphones, however, Google is in the process of creating an entry-level cell phone with basic functionality that will cost roughly 50 dollars to make.
In addition to the phone, Google is also planning on opening up a module market place.
“We want it to be like an app store,” Mr. Gabriel said. “You may want a blood-sugar monitor and a cigarette lighter on your phone. Why should you not have that?”
While this seems like an extremely viable idea, not all are convinced. Rajeeve Chand, the head of research at Rutberg & Co. has said that “There may not be a consumer market for this. There’s also the question of whether many consumers will want to spend time customizing their phones with complex new components.”
Project Ara is still in the early stages of development, but it seems that the culture for personalization of technology is only just beginning.
Photo Credit: Google
Barr, A. (2014, April 15). Google Unveils Project Ara, a ‘Modular’ Smartphone. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303887804579504034176032014?mod=WSJ_TechWSJD_moreTopStories