Project Ara, Google’s foray into creating phones that can be built from interchangeable parts, has reportedly been scrapped according to a report by Reuters.
It’s a shock decision considering Google’s proclamation in May that it would have a developer edition of Ara ready for Q4 2016, and that consumers would get an Ara phone sometime in 2017.
The first consumer modular smartphone to be released, LG’s G5, has sold poorly amid customer complaints regarding modules breaking down and other phone issues.
While LG’s effort doesn’t have the same level of modularity as Google projected with Ara, it does suggest that building a reliable, long-lasting modular smartphone is a far more difficult task than expected.
While Google won’t release a phone itself, it may considering partnering with other vendors to bring the Ara technology to market, according to a Reuters source.
Ara comes from Google’s mysterious Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, which has been developing new hardware, such as wearables and gesture-sensing technology.
The end of Project Ara is one of the first steps in unifying Google’s numerous hardware efforts in a division now led by Motorola’s former president, Rick Osterloh.