VentureBeat has a great, in-depth sourced look at the rise of and fall of Ara, Google’s modular phone project. One paragraph in particular stands out to me.
“One of the modules that we were working on was basically like a tiny aquarium for your phone,” said the source. “It was a little tiny biome that would go inside of a module and it would have a microscope on the bottom part, and it would have live tardigrades and algae – some people call them water bears. They are the tiniest living organism. We had this idea to build a tardigrade module and we’d build a microscope with it. So you’d have this app on your phone and you could essentially look at the tardigrades up close and watch them floating around.” Brooklyn-based art, design, and technology agency Midnight Commercial conceived the idea, and was commissioned by Google to build it, demonstrating the depth of what developers could create.
If the people working on Ara had the guts to come up with and actually build things like this, they were on the right track. This is exactly the kind of crazy, outlandish stuff that would be a perfect fit and marketing gimmick for a crazy, outlandish product like Ara.
I am incredibly sad that Ara has been cancelled. I realise full well it would never be the kind of massive product like the Galaxy series or the iPhone, but I don’t care – I just really, really like the idea, the concept, and the possibilities, mass appeal be damned.