When Project Ara launches, users will be able to swap parts out as they see fit, creating the exact device to suit their needs. One of the great things about this capability, especially for road warriors, is that the battery can be hot-swapped, meaning you can replace it on the fly without turning the phone off thanks to a tiny reserve. Turns out you can do that with quite a few of the parts.
According to project director Paul Eremenko, users will be able to hot-swap other phone modules, too (save for things like CPU and the display). Say you’re in the middle of taking a photo, and you realize you’d rather use a larger sensor. Just swap the part out mid-pose and fire away. That might not be something you do regularly, but just knowing the option is there is pretty cool.
How is this even possible? Eremenko and his team developed a modified version of Android L with the help of non-profit org Linaro. From a consumer standpoint, hot-swapping a battery might be good enough. But imagine you’re out in the field and you need to swap out your phone’s memory. Well, you can do that without compromising your phone’s performance.
Eremenko said that when Ara finally launches, he envisions a Google Play-type store for Ara parts, so you’ll have no shortage of swappable options when the project is available to consumers.