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The Ara is a modular smartphone developed by Google that allows users to swap out everything from the camera to the display to the battery, in order to obtain the exact phone he or she wants. Designed to make the smartphone accessible to millions of people who can't afford iPhones and Galaxy phones, the modular smartphones are more than just a Lego-lover's pipe dream, it could change the industry forever, bringing new types of manufacturing, new ways of buying and selling phones, and new ways for consumers to interact with their most personal and most intimate devices.

Developed by Google's ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects), a small team staffed with ex-DARPA engineers and some of the brightest minds at the company, the modular phone makes it possible for people to easily replace a broken display and still keep the rest of the phone instead of having to purchase a new phone completely.

The Ara consists of a metal endoskeleton, which acts as the spine of the phone, and slots for replaceable components, which are tile-looking modules. These tiled modules can include anything that makes the phone tick (processor, RAM, WiFi, power jack, baseband, display and battery, for instance), as well as other features like the camera, speakers and storage space. The modules connect to the other working parts through capacitive interconnects or wireless pads that are smaller than standard pins. Electropermanent magnets not only hold modules in place, but they also act as a toggle switch so users can easily turn an element on and off. ATAP plans to feature Ara in three different sizes, ranging from a smaller six-module option to a large-screened model with more modules.

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