Project Ara is Google’s effort to create an affordable, modular smartphone that you can customize like a set of Lego bricks. And the once experimental project is edging closer to reality with the debut of its first module, a Toshiba camera.
Toshiba is just one of several companies working on modules for Project Ara, but it’s the first to go public with a prototype. The company is developing three different versions of its camera module—a 2 megapixel front camera and both 5 megapixel and 13 megapixel rear cameras.
Each of these modules is a self-contained smartphone camera about the length of your finger.
For Toshiba, the camera module was just its introductory challenge. This year, the company will be working on memory and wireless charging modules, with unspecified “unique” modules to follow in 2016.
Here’s Toshiba’s video on the camera module:
Once Project Ara is out, customers will be able to mix and match modules to build their phone, or to go with a basic version for as little as $50, possibly later this year.
Photos via Toshiba