Google’s Project Ara is an exciting vision meant to change the way people use their smartphones, but unfortunately, tech enthusiasts started to lose their patience after the project was delayed multiple times. Spiral 2, a handset part of Project Ara, was scheduled for market release last year, but plans didn’t go accordingly, and the event was postponed for this year.

Earlier this year, a Project Ara tablet showed up in benchmark tests, which spiked enthusiasm for this project once again, but little information has emerged since then.

During Google I/O 2016 on Friday, the ATAP division announced that the very first Project Ara modular phone would be revealed to developers this fall while a consumer version would be made available sometime in 2017. The upcoming developer release is set to have a 5.3-inch screen and run Android, probably the next Android N.

Developers can get their hands on the smartphone by heading over to ATAP’s dedicated Project Ara website and filling out the form indicating what type of module they would like to develop.

It seems that Google faced some issues with integrating the processor and RAM into the standard frame so that it could allow room for six modular slots.

30 Google employees use Project Ara smartphones as their main device

The smartphone will allow users to swap out modules while the handset is still working so that users won’t need to turn it off in order to change a module. The modules use an open standard UniPro, and one can support up to 11.9 Gbps. Each module consumes about as much power as a USB 3.

A button on the right side of the device brings up a map of all modules, and the user simply needs to tap on one in order to eject and swap the module. About 30 people who work for Google’s Advanced Technology and Products division already use Ara smartphones as their main daily driver, Wired mentions.

With Project Ara, Google might actually change people’s vision of smartphones and even tablets, since they will no longer be devices with customizable software, but also hardware. It will mean that people won’t need to buy smartphone devices in full every two years, but rather replace modules in any way they wish.

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