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Google’s Project Ara modular phone lives and will go on sale in 2017

Google will release a consumer version of its Project Ara modular smartphone in 2017, the firm revealed on Friday.

On day three at Google I/O, the company said, despite recent radio silence, the project is far from dead and announced a developer version of a handset will be available by the end of the year.

Blaise Bertrand, the head of creative at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, says there’ll be a “thin, light, beautiful” device available to consumers next year (via Engadget).

See also: Google I/O 2016: As it happened

Today, the company also introduced a new frame, which supports up to six plug and play modules. Google says they can be safely ejected through the settings or by using “OK Google” voice commands.

A new “Ara: what’s next” promo video (below) depicts a handset that’s easy to customise with various camera modules, stands, microphones, speakers, e-ink displays and modules for off-grid communications and more.

Google says it has manufacturing partners like Toshiba and Sony developing these modules ahead of the release this year.

For the longest time, the modular future had seemed more of a pipe dream, perhaps even superfluous to the requirements of the modern user.

On today’s evidence, it may be Google’s long-held desires could represent the future of the smartphone industry.

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