Google has reportedly pulled the plug on its Project Ara modular phone ambitions in a major blow to the project.
The project was progressing fairly well and Google had a set of people trying the thing, five of whom were in the UK. But rumours about the project coming to an end began to surface in May, just over 12 months after the lucky testers were picked.
The idea for the Project Ara modular phone was that people could swap and change elements of the unit, so, for example, they could change the camera or battery as their preferences dictated.
MIT's Self-Assembly Lab even began picturing hardware that could be put into a sort of spinning washing machine drum and left to assemble itself.
However, Reuters quoted sources as saying that Google has decided to hand the hardware over to other manufacturers and let them deal with it.
Reuters added that this was a business decision and a way of making more sense of what must be a confusing and complicated roster of projects and products.
Google had not responded to a request for comment on the reports.
Motorola started the whole modular thing in 2013. "Our goal is to drive a more thoughtful, expressive and open relationship between users, developers and their phones," the company said at the time.
"To give you the power to decide what your phone does, how it looks, where and what it's made of, how much it costs, and how long you'll keep it."
Google said at the launch of Project Ara that each module would be a snap-on part, such as a battery or a camera, costing between $50 and $100.
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