Modular smartphones have long been regarded as the pinnacle of futuristic smartphone technology. A video simply titled ‘Phonebloks’ was published towards the end of 2013 that illustrated one man’s vision for the future of smartphones. That video currently has over 21 million views and at the time caught the attention of the entire tech industry. Not long after the video was released, Motorola (at the time under Google’s ownership) officially announced plans for a modular smartphone of their own, dubbed Project ARA.
We’ve covered a lot of the milestones that Project ARA has passed over the years, and it seems like Google was initially making major progress with the project. One of the biggest milestones was the announcement they would be launching a pilot program in Puerto Rico – for what seemed to be the first real-world launch of a modular smartphone. Since then, unfortunately, it seems that the project was starting to hit major roadblocks until finally the project was shelved a few months back.
It seemed that the modular smartphone dream was dead, at least for now. But despite the fact that Google never got around to officially launching a Project ARA smartphone, Phandroid was able to get their hands on what they believe to be a prototype developer device from the first half of this year. This device has the model number A8A01 and was never disclosed to the public. Within this prototype smartphone lies the Snapdragon 810 SoC, 3GBs of RAM, a 5.5″ 1080p display, 32GBs of internal storage, and a 3,450mAh capacity battery. Those specifications seem fairly standard considering the time period the device was being tested in, but keep in mind that the entire premise of the phone is to provide modularity so users can swap out parts in the future.
Phandroid also uploaded 40 photos to present all sides and all angles of the prototype developer device. Thanks to this, we get a look at how the modules were designed, how they were held into place, and how the phone even came with a module release button on the side of the device. Phandroid promises to reveal more details about the phone as well as answer some questions from readers in the weeks to come.