Exclusive: Project ARA specifications, design and photos


As revealed a few days back, we’ve managed to get our hands on Google’s Project ARA modular smartphone. We’ve started compiling all the questions you’ve sent in and will answer most of them in an upcoming Q&A article and video. Today, we’re sharing a full list of specifications (those that we know about) and 40 images which show off the phone’s design.

The ARA (A8A01) we have is likely the developer version of the ARA which Google talked about during the first half of 2016. The endoskeleton, which houses the display and the unremovable internal components, is metal, except for the insert panels covering the front-facing camera and speaker above and below the display. The modules on the back of the phone are covered is a soft-touch plastic. Similar to the early concepts Google showed off, the modules are held in place by electromagnets. While Google did state that the electromagmagnet system they were previously using was not good enough to pass internal testing, the new mechanism uses larger magnets which stick out at a 90-degree angle, allowing the modules to snap securely into place.


The pictures below will give you a good sense for how large the ARA is. The phone’s footprint is nearly identical to that of the HTC Desire Eye, but at 12.5mm it’s roughly 60% thicker than most 2016 flagship smartphones. As a result, it feels like you’re holding a brick when the ARA is in your hand. Developer models are always larger than consumer device, but it’s unclear how much slimmer the final ARA phone would have been if the Google didn’t cancel Project ARA.

Project ARA (A8A01) Specifications

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 (MSM8994)
Storage 32GB internal
Display 5.46-inch,  1080 x 1920 (403 dpi), TFT-LCD OTM1906C
Camera Rear camera: 2.1 MP (16:9 aspect ratio), fixed-focus lens, 1080p video capture
Front camera: 5.0 MP (4:3 aspect ratio), fixed focus lens, 1080p video capture
Battery 3,450 mAh
Dimensions 152 x 74 x 12.5 mm (without camera module)
Weight 190 grams (approximate)
Connectivity WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE), NFC
Sensors GPS, barrometer, light, gyroscope, proximity, accelerometer, magnometer, pressure, gravity,
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C
Audio  Front-facing mono speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack, dual microphone
Buttons  Power, volume rocker, module release
Android 7.0 (NMR1), API Level 24, Security Patch 2016-08-05

Project ARA gallery

Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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