One of the most ambitious smartphone projects in recent years is hitting the brakes.
Project Ara modular phone program has been suspended, said Lily Lin, a spokesperson for Google. Reuters earlier reported the program's halt.
Unlike traditional phones, where if you were lucky you could swap out a memory card or battery, Project Ara would have been much more customizable. Most components were designed to be swappable, allowing users to easily add and remove options such as additional batteries, cameras, speakers, and change other features as they wanted and needed.
Halting the program is an about-face for Google, which recently showcased the project's progress during its developer event in May, even going so far as to say that a developer kit would be available in the fall with a consumer version available next year.
Although Google no longer has plans to release the phone directly, Reuters says the device could eventually come to market through a licensed partner.
Google isn't backing out of the handset business altogether. A separate report fromAndroid Police Thursday night says the company will unveil its latest phones, formerly under the
Nexus brand, at an event on October 4th. Those phones, now called Pixel and long rumored to be made by HTC, are said to be designed like more traditional phones, with one having a 5-inch screen and another a 5.5-inch display.
They will run the latest version of
Google's Android operating system, called Nougat, as well as likely have support for the company's new Daydream virtual reality platform.
According to the report, Google is also expected to announce a 4K-capable Chromecast and provide more details on its Amazon Echo-like Google Home smart speaker at the event.