But the Spiral 2, the newest prototype unveiled during Wednesday’s Project Ara developer conference, is the most advanced yet. It not only boots but it has cellular connectivity. More importantly, it looks like a phone we’d actually want to buy.
Ara’s hardware is made of two main components: the endoskeleton shell (“endo” for short) and the modules. At launch, users will be able to choose the types of modules they want and customize the design and colors of each one.
The Spiral 2 isn’t nearly as clunky as previous prototypes, though it’s certainly not a thin device by today’s standards. When you hold it, it feels solid but not like a brick. The modules themselves, on the other hand, are surprisingly light.
The coolest part is how easily you can swap out and rearrange the modules. You can disassemble the phone and then reassemble it with the camera in a different location on the phone, for example. At this point, moving the modules around is pretty easy — they attach to the endo with magnets — though not quite effortless.
Customization is obviously a big focus with Ara and the ability to personalize the look of your phone’s modules with photos or other designs is admittedly awesome. Google plans to roll out an Ara Configurator app that will allow you to build your own phone before you buy. Shop for the modules you want by specifications and customize the design of each one. Up close with Google’s new and improved Project Ara prototype