Google’s ATAP team showed a working version of its Project Ara modular smartphone on stage at I/O today, with engineer Rafa Camargo snapping in a camera module and taking a quick photo on a device running the latest version of Android. It was a brief show of where the project’s at, and amazing when you consider the engineering involved in making it work.
ATAP has shown off a working Project Ara prototype before, but this was a version that looked much more like a shipping consumer prototype than developer hardware, and it was the first time the company has publicly demonstrated installing a camera module and actually capturing an image.
This might have been one of the more stunning demonstrations of what the Ara project could potentially offer, as it may have been difficult for the average device user to grasp the true power of a modular mobile device with replaceable parts. The system appears to be near ready for public consumption, based on the ease of the installation process, so that’s good news for the test planned later for a limited public launch in Puerto Rico.