Sunday, September 4, 2016

Here's a Farewell to an Ara that Never Began

Project Ara Google
Project Ara: Google

Let's face it, Project Ara, Google's much hyped, highly anticipated modular smartphone concept was really not going to take off. There were a whole lot of challenges and lot of manufacturers and software companies had to come together to agree on a number of things. On the upside, we would have had finally dealt with the e-waste but in the downside, it would have sounded a death knell to the brands spending billions of dollars to offer something unique to their audience. 

So, why did Project Ara not take off? Here are the top three reasons:

No Consensus
Can you imagine Samsung or Huawei, companies that manufacture gazillion different kinds of smartphones, let alone feature phones, coming together and joining hands with Apple and standardizing issues like ports and parts? It would be a logistical nightmare.

Audience Not Ready Yet
Often technology works in an amazing way. A small group of first movers embrace it, the brand quickly works on the feedback, develops the products, the second group of audience quickly follows, prices drop and soon the mass follows. Many folks have equated Project Ara with assembled desktop PCs. While it's a great thing to be able to upgrade your desktop, it's really not the case for bulk of the audience. They want a one stop solution for themselves rather than worry about the parts that will increasingly become costly.

Lack of Visionaries
You look at the leading guys who were behind this project, they have all moved out and there is no one to lead this elephant anywhere. At this point, it has just become a resource guzzler. The closest range of phones which were ready to be upgraded to this project would only be Apple's. Even though they have three major kinds of phones, they still follow some sort of pattern, a standard that can be implemented. 

So, Farewell Ara. You taught us to dream, to build things, to learn. Because of you, e-waste is being discussed in the tech community, by the average users. Brands which make cheap products known to break down every six months have seen their shares go down and the consumer has become intelligent. 

These learnings are being implemented in other areas. Moto has found some success with the Moto Z but I have a feeling that you will happen sometime in future, when you'd be something we need, not just want.

Farewell, Ara.

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Image Source: Google