Google is starting to show developers what they need to do to create swappable parts for its upcoming modular smartphones, currently called Project Ara. On Ara's website, it's just posted the Module Developers Kit, which contains the information that manufacturers need to get started creating modular parts. "Ara’s success is predicated on a rich, vibrant, and diverse ecosystem of modules from a myriad of developers," one document in the kit reads.
Ara phones begin as no more than a skeleton, before owners plug in everything from a display and processor to a camera and Wi-Fi unit in order to complete them. Google wants many of those modules — including some unorthodox ones — to come from third-party developers. Google previously announced that it would begin working with developers later this month at a virtual conference that begins next week. Now, eager developers will actually be able to take a look beforehand to get a head start going in.
The crux of the guide is a large document that breaks down what Ara phones will look like and how modules can fit in. As previously detailed, the guide explains the three sizes of phone skeletons that Ara will allow for: mini, medium, and large. Larger phones accompany more modules, though it appears that the exact number of modules could change between individual models based on how what Google calls their "ribs" and "spine" — the bars that divide up its modules — are laid out. For now, only Google can make phone skeletons too, so third parties can't release their own.