Google axes modular mobile scheme

Project AraUpgrading a smartphone once every year or two is a habit that many millions of consumers have embraced. But this expensive and wasteful practice is a concern for a variety of reasons, not least because of the negative environmental impact that it generates.

Google’s Project Ara was supposed to be a step towards addressing this issue, providing a modular mobile platform which would allow people to replace the camera, battery, processor, screen and other key hardware components, one at a time. But last week it was officially announced that the scheme was being put on ice, Reuters reports.

It seems that Project Ara could live on if Google chooses to sell the tech it has developed to third parties, but the likelihood of a modular mobile with the search giant’s name on it being launched is slim.

Project Ara had been scaled back from its original scope, with engineers finding that it was too complex and costly to make every part of a smartphone replaceable. And with models like the LG G5 showing a degree of modularity without achieving unmitigated commercial success, Google may have made the right decision to pull the plug before it got in too deep.