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Phonebloks Creator Goes Behind the Scenes at Project Ara

by Jacob Kleinman | April 3, 2014April 3, 2014 5:00 pm PDT

It’s been a while since we’ve heard an update on Project Ara, Google’s plan for a low-cost modular smartphone, so who better to take us behind the scenes at the Google office where the device is being designed than Dave Hakkens, the Dutch designer whose modular Phonebloks concept took off after he released a short video online. In a new three-minute video Hakkens visits the team behind Ara and gives us a fresh look at the modular handset.

We already know a good deal about Project Ara thanks to an in-depth story from Time earlier this year, but this is the first time we’re seeing the new device in development with our own eyes. Hakkens shows us a prototype which uses electro-permanent magnets to keep individual modules in place. Another designer shows off different components with unique designs including one module with a picture of a cat on it. We also see the still-in-development app that will let Ara owners explore different customization options.

Google doesn’t expect Project Ara to hit the market until 2015, when it could be available for as little as $50. Of course, that’s just the price for the frame and display. You’ll have to buy the rest of the components yourself.

Check out the full video above, or if you don’t have time we’ve put together a quick slideshow below.

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...


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