Google‘s Project Ara is moving ahead as planned as more and more hardware manufacturing companies announce support for the modular smartphone that users will be able to put together themselves. If your not familiar with Project Ara or Phoneblocks, you should know that Google is trying to create a modular smartphone, which means that users will be able to choose the specs for their phones. Not only that, but Project Ara will let users change out modules in their phones once they feel they are outdated or have been damaged. For example, you could create a Project Ara smartphone oriented at photography, by choosing a 4 inch display, a massive camera module with optical image stabilization and a 21 MP sensor, a 4000 mAh battery and a powerful CPU. Once you get tired of that or want a phone that is more powerful and can focus more on social media, for example, you will be able to switch out the camera module with a smaller one, and place a front-facing camera on your Project Ara phone, too. You could also switch out a processor for a newer, more powerful one.
Project Ara is exactly what the smartphone market needs today: fully customizable. With Project Ara, users will be able to decide what kind of phone they want and by discarding only the modules that are damaged or outdated, they will create less waste than they would if dumping a whole phone. If you’re thinking about re-sale value, imagine that you could re-sell the modules you don’t use anymore in the same manner. At the moment, I consider Project Ara my favorite and the most innovative smartphone-related project that is in development. But what about audio?
As Toshiba is already on board with camera modules, the time has come for more and more high-end hardware manufacturers to join the Project Ara program. Sennheiser is the newest company to join the endeavor with two new audio modules that users will be able to use in their custom smartphones. Sennheiser is one of the leading companies in audio technology and has been praised over the years for its various headsets, headphones, speakers, amplifiers and drivers around the world. Now, the German audio company has introduced their “Concepts” modules for Project Ara. If you’re familiar with the company, you’re probably aware of the fact that they offer premium quality, for a premium price. But that doesn’t mean that they will eventually be the only option Project Ara will have. It will be the option audiophiles will choose, though.
The Sennheiser Amphion module will be a high-end module composed of a noise-canceling microphone and an amplifier. The latter will be able to record and play audio with high force and clarity, trademarked by Sennheiser in the past few years. Alongside these two, a high-end processor will also be included in the Project Ara module, which will be a low-latency digital processor. The digital signal processor within the Sennheiser module will actually be user-programmable, so that you can customize it the way you want to, in accordance with the Project Ara philosophy.
The Proteus audio module from the German company is even more over-the-top tech, as it comes with two audio jacks for sharing, which is quite neat in my opinion. The module focuses on users making their own music and recording sound, which means it will offer high quality recordings and put 4 microphones to the users’ disposal. It’s a neat concept and I’m glad Sennheiser is making their Project Ara modules just as modular as the phone itself. With all the possibilities that this Google-branded project encompasses, we’re truly seeing the first steps and breakthroughs in the smartphone industry. Even though flagships are fun and shiny, the modular smartphone is the tech of the future, in my opinion. Do you think that Project Ara will be successful? What kind of phone would you design if you had all kinds of modules available?