Google's parent company, Alphabet, has pulled the plug on Project Ara. That was meant to be a modular smartphone, aimed at reducing electronics waste.
Like Lego blocks
Google's original plan for Project Ara was to allow consumers to keep hold of their smartphone for a longer period of time. An ingenious system of blocks, reminiscent of Lego blocks, should have made it possible to create a smartphone that fits the consumer's specific needs. One could replace the camera, but also the memory or even the processor.
Plenty of people were enthused when Project Ara was announced, but it instantly faced a lot of obstacles. Google could not find the right way to market the device, because the production cost for each of the components was markedly higher than the average smartphone and despite earlier enthusiasm, consumers were apparently not willing to pay more to obtain a modular smartphone.
Google then decided to dial back on the options in an attempt to lower costs. Fewer modules and a basic smartphone version, with only limited customization, was Google's next attempt to market the device, but it only received a lukewarm reception for this particular vision.
That is why Alphabet has decided to halt its own development of Project, but it will hand out licenses to those who are interested in pursuing the idea. Several other companies are also working on their own modular smartphone.