How to innovate: break stuff
Imagine spending months working on a prototype, organizing a presentation, and finding developers, only to drop the prototype and break it. This is exactly what happened for Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team who were working on Project Ara. Someone dropped the prototype phone and broke the display. Instead of panicking, they turned it into a selling point, as one of the main features is the ability to swap out the phone’s screens.
According to Engadget, the Ara consists of a metal endoskeleton, which is essentially the spine of the phone, and slots for replaceable components known as modules. These look a lot like tiles. These tiled modules can include a variety of different thing that made your phone work from processors and batteries, to cameras and speakers. Each module will connect to the other working parts through capacitive interconnects, which function as wireless pads, smaller than standard pins. Electropermanent magnets not only hold modules in place, but they also act as a toggle switch, which allows you to easily turn that element on and off.
What does this mean for businesses? Very soon there is going to be a market for swappable modules and apps to go along with them. Also, it will mean that your business may need to develop a compatible app so that you do not get left out of the technological revolution. It also means you can create an almost perfectly customized phone to suit your businesses needs.
This device would allow you to add the modules that you need and leave off what you do not. It could also help keep the cost of owning a smartphone down, because they say you will be able to buy one module at a time.
Google’s ATAP have already begun considering offering a developmental kit to anyone who wants to create their own modules. This could offer a range of modules only limited by imagination. Realtors may be able to develop a module to carry their MLS key with them; businessmen can carry all their documents; card readers, camera lenses and everything in between are all possibilities. While the Ara is still in the very beginning of developmental stages, it is definitely something you will want to keep your eye on.