Awesome-sauce! Modular makes a ton of sense when it comes to smartphones; if anyone can pull it off it would be Google, Apple, or Samsung - I'm just glad someone's getting the ball rolling so the rest can catch up with competition.
There's no reason why all this modular gooodness couldn't be protected by a robust case. Otherwise... I guess... you assemble it all back together? Worst case scenario, your screen cracks, like with any modern smartphone. Oh wait, you can now replace it yourself, probably for much cheaper, too.
To have modules requires a standardized bus system and the one selected for Project Ara isn't fast enough to support the most powerful devices currently used in smartphones. And it adds complexity. Many current components are able to directly connect to an SoC - now they'll need to add a bus connection where none previously existed.
Further, many components are directly tied to the capabilities of your SoC. For example, you won't be adding a high MP or 4K camera to last years phone since the SoC can't process the data from the sensor fast enough. So you're going to have to upgrade the processor AND the camera.
Then you have SoC's from companies like Qualcomm with integrated LTE vs SoC's that require an external cellular modem. What happens when your existing phone with its own LTE modem gets the latest Qualcomm processor with a built-in modem? Which one gets used? Does the Qualcomm SoC know enough to disable its own and connect to the external modem via the bus.
What about drivers? Is your mobile OS suddenly going to gain Plug n Play (remember how this worked on Windows when it first came out)? How much bloat will this add to an OS designed to work on a device with limited resources? And who's going to be responsible when a conflict arises?
While the idea of making phones like your PC where you pick the CPU, storage, memory, GPU and other peripherals sounds good on paper, in reality it's going to be riddled with problems.
I don't get this and never have.
More brittle, larger components, fatter phone, more expensive in the long run, compatibility issues hard- and softwarewise, availability of modules, the exact opposite of what people buy into when choosing a phone. Good idea, but IMO not practical at all.
Good to know!!! At last it is happening, I had many phones that in which I only wanted to change a specific part of it and had no choice. Had to buy another phone that would cost an arm and a leg. But now it would be AWEsome.