Google is reportedly putting its Project Ara modular smartphone concept on hold, after originally promising to launch the device at retail in 2015.
Originally developed independently by Phonebloks before being taken further by Motorola's ATAP division
in 2013, Project Ara was picked up by Google during its acquisition of Motorola Mobility and retained when it sold other assets on to Lenovo. The company claimed it would launch
the devices, which use an 'Exo' motherboard onto which components like batteries, storage, cameras, and even processors can be connected to build a customised smartphone, in January 2015. While a small number of handsets
were promised to early adopters and a working prototype demonstrated
, the launch date came and went. In August 2015, months after the devices were due to launch, Google delayed trials to 2016
- and now it appears to be putting the whole project on hold.
According to sources speaking to newswire agency Reuters
, Google is suspending Project Ara for an indeterminate period. Those same sources have claimed that Google's plan has now shifted away from launching Project Ara as a Google device, and towards licensing the technology to third parties who may wish to launch modular smartphone products of their own.
Google has thus far refused to comment on the accuracy of Reuters' report.