Google yesterday revealed that the Project Ara modular smartphone should arrive in January 2015. Known as the “Gray Phone”, it’s deliberately designed to be a generic unit that begs for customization.  Pricing is expected to be around $50 for the base device.

As a refresher, Project Ara is the code name for Google’s initiative that lets users swap out components of a smartphone as needed or desired. Want a better camera? Prefer a more powerful experience? Maybe you want a physical keyboard in addition to the touch display. Ara makes this as easy to do as installing an app. Done right, hardware makers will compete for your attention and money with pieces and parts that appeal directly to your needs.


The devices will be powered by Android; drivers should be ready by December. Externally, customers will be able to decide on the finish, color, and materials of the smartphones.

The first Project Ara Developers Conference takes place this week with additional events planned for July and September.

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