Project Ara’s secret weapon? A smaller phone


Google’s(s goog) wildly ambitious modular phone, Project Ara, has a lot going for it: Serious engineering accomplishments. Magnets. The power of an idea that went viral before anyone considered it possible. But its best path to mainstream adoption could be the most prosaic of all. While Project Ara will come in multiple sizes, it will include a small version, one that fits well in human hands.

When Project Ara launches in early 2015, it will eventually come in three separate base “endo” sizes, which are barebones handsets that add-on modules plug into. One module could be a wireless module, allowing the device to connect to international cellular providers. Another module could be an extra battery, or a graphics processor — basically, the system wants users to build the device to their own taste through modules built to standardized specifications. Eventually, Google wants a thriving marketplace of hardware makers and tinkerers…

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