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Google Shutters Project Ara to Streamline Hardware Efforts

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Per a Reuters report, it is rumored that Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL Google has pulled the plug on Project Ara that sought to build modular smartphone. The move is in sync with the company’s plan to streamline its efforts in the hardware segment which includes the likes of Chromebook and Nexus phone.   


What is a Modular Smartphone?


A modular smartphone is a device with interchangeable modules for various types of components such as batteries, cameras, speakers etc. Of late, the concept caught the attention of the tech community as it offers a means to reduce electronic waste by prolonging the lifespan of an electronic device. However, their bulkiness and high costs involved in their manufacturing process make them less attractive as a commercial proposition. 


Project Ara


Project Ara was launched by Motorola in 2013. The project was taken care of by the Advanced Technology and Projects group that Google decided to hold onto even after its divestiture of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo in 2014. The company’s aim was to create a phone that could be customized by users according to their requirements. 


Google’s plan to launch the smartphone in Puerto Rico fell through in 2015. Early this year, the company had announced the delay of the launch to 2017. Moreover, after the Ara team announced that the smartphone would have a fixed CPU, antennas, GPU, battery, display and sensors in place of the earlier fully modular design, Ara lost its charm.


What’s Next?


While it is now clear that Google will no longer be releasing the device, it may consider licensing the technology to a third party manufacturer. The question remains - if Google couldn’t do it, will someone else be able to?





Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Currently, Alphabet carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).


Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology space include Avid Technology, Inc. AVID and Infoblox Inc. BLOX, both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Aspen Technology, Inc. AZPN, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). 


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