Google challenges devs to make Project Ara unlike anything else

Project Ara
Big bounty to the best developer

Google has announced many things already at its developer conference, and the search titan still has projects left on the docket, including Project Ara.

SlashGear reports Google has challenged developers to come up with a smartphone module that doesn't exist in today's preassembled devices.

Hairbrained ideas are welcome but Mountain View is looking for new, never-before-seen parts that plug and play with its modular phone of the future.

On top of bragging rights, the first to engineer a working module will get $100,000 (about £58,732/AU$106,216) as a grand prize. There's also room for two runner-ups who will win shoo-in invites to the next Ara developer event. The event is on track for this fall.

And it's not like developers will be creating for a dummy model or anything; the Project Ara team successfully turned on a prototype during an IO session. Game on, debs.

Google's magic phone factory

Don't think Google is just going to crowdsource the development of Project Ara going forward. While the developers work on their add-ons, Google announced it's figuring out a new, super-speed 3D printer production system to spit out customized modules.

Google touts its personal 3D printer is 50x faster than a traditional one. Like an advanced copy machine, this printer can fabricate three-dimensional parts made of multiple types of materials.

The machine also prints 600-dpi color images applying them like vinyl onto the modular parts.

Next-generation phones

While the printer can already produce parts, Google is looking into how to pack even more components into its platform modules. In another research project, the company is looking to create longer lasting battery packs that can extend the operational time of our devices by up to three times.

Google expects that in the future, it will eventually be able to create electrical elements such as antennas using 3D printing.

To support all this modular magic Google plans to release a prototype version of Android this fall - which could ultimately mean developer devices by next season, too.

  • Meet Android One, Google's other big plan for smartphones
Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.