Toshiba shows off first working camera modules for Project Ara [VIDEO]


Project Ara Spiral 1

What sounded like science fiction when it was first announced, Project Ara — the world’s first modular smartphone — has been on the fast track from development to market availability. Arriving first in Puerto Rico later this year, Ara will offer up a bare bones Android-powered smartphone for $50 (frame, display, battery, CPU, etc.), giving users the ability to upgrade or build-upon the device according to their wants/needs using attachable modules.

Toshiba is one of a handful of OEMs signing on to build these modules and in a YouTube video, they showed off the first working Ara camera module. They actually have a few different versions — 2MP (front facing), 5MP, 13MP —  and in the video, show the 5MP version playing nice with their “Big development board.”

Project Ara Toshiba 13MP camera module

The cameras, which will obviously be offered up at various price points, simply snap onto the back of the phone and can be swapped in and out with ease. Going on a trip and know you’ll be snapping a lot of family photos? Snap in the 13MP. Just another boring work week? Take out the camera altogether and use a RAM boost module (or something to that effect).

As affordable as the basic board will be, the real question on everyone’s minds is how much these individual modules will actually cost. Even if a fully decked out Project Ara smartphone costs more than your standard flagship smartphone, being able to upgrade components as your finances allow, (or even forgo “needless” specs like 2K displays) could prove a viable option to some. Whether Project Ara will catch on outside of the hardcore tech crowd remains to be seen, but we’re optimistic.


[Toshiba | via PetaPixel]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Looking forward to this device in future public release..

  2. I tingle with anticipation…

  3. Question: Does anyone think the SIM card tray size would be customizable as well? Like if you wanted to swap between One of these and an iPhone if you used one for work? Not sure if it’s technically possible but I would love to be able to swap between an android phone and a iphone using the Same SIM card.

    1. You can buy a adapter the are pretty cheap

  4. Sweet. This has way more cool & useful potential and ramifications for technology (beyond phones) then say.. Google Glass.

    1. Have you used glass? I think not, I have had glass for 1.5 years and it has huge ramifications; but yeah, Ara is awesome as well.

  5. This will be my next phone if it runs smoothly and battery life is good enough.

    1. And if it doesn’t, just upgrade. ;)

  6. What’s really going to be bad is every manufacturer putting their branding on every individual module for the phone. It’s going to look like a walking ad board.

    1. Luckily I think companies will offer replacement plastic casings 3d printed to fix the problem

    2. Kinda cool actually.. Makes me think of Kaneda’s bike from Akira! Fingers crossed for a Canon module lol..

  7. I heard Polaroid was making a module but it was too big… where is the Sony?

  8. I hope you can get the frame, in different sizes, for different displays, and a choice of display technologies.

  9. Getting closer, looks like the MB needs to still be scaled down some.

  10. Never understood the point of this.. Why would someone opt for lower end modules.. If I’m to go this route it’s going to have top modules in every slot.. Save for maybe sticking to a 1080p screen… Have to see the final product I guess..

  11. Please tell me some company is building a slide out qwerty keyboard module?

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