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Google's Project Ara lets you build your own phone (hands-on pictures)

The Spiral 2 is Google's second prototype of a modular phone built under its Project Ara. These phones will let you mix and match hardware parts, such as cameras or screens.

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Juan Garzon
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1 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

Spiral 2: Google's new Project Ara prototype

Google's new modular phone is here: The idea? Taking the personalization of your smartphone to a new level.

Project Ara smartphones will let people mix and match hardware parts, such as cameras or screens, and snap them together like Legos.

Read also: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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2 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

Up to eight modules

Google's second prototype under Ara, the Spiral 2, can hold up to eight different modules on its rear side.

For its final version, Google promises all modules will be interchangeable, which might allow users to put a camera in the place where it best fits her/his needs.

Read also:Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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3 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

Different modules

Individual parts -- like cameras, screens or processors -- snap onto the phone's frame.

That means you could theoretically choose a camera from one manufacturer, a display from another, and a processor from yet another hardware maker to build the specific phone want.

Read also: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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4 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

Inside the hood

This is what the aluminum housing looks like without any modules in it.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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The 'skeleton head'

The skeleton or structure is made up of steel. In the future this part can be divided into two to include a front camera.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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6 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

It's like playing with Lego

Different modules have different sizes and each one has only one connection. It is necessary that each connection ties in with the skeleton of the phone to work properly. For example, in this picture we can see in the lower end the display module from the back.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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7 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

Shells

Google wants to take customization to another level. Each module can be customized with a color, a pattern, a photo or a drawing.

The probabilities are endless, so each phone can be unique.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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8 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

A 4.5-inch screen

Not all the functions of the Spiral 2 are yet active, but the phone turns on and shows us a glimpse of Android.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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9 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

Module for phone calls

At the top we find the module that integrates various sensors and speaker to hear during a call. The design of the module can also be customized to suit your taste. Here we see a strawberry pattern.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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10 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

On its side

Google's Spiral 2 is not the thinnest of them all, but its not a thick phone either.

Holding it from the side you can see its different modules.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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11 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

Battery

A phone's thickness may vary according to what goes in each module. In this particular phone we could see what a large battery would look like.

In a way it reminded us of some Nokia phones at a smaller scale.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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12 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

Photos and more

Looks like a puzzle, but you can personalize each module with the design of your choosing. How about a photo of your pet?

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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The camera of the Spiral 2

Google's Spiral 2 currently houses a 5-megapixel camera, but this can easily be changed in the future for, say, a 13-megapixel one by only replacing one module.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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14 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

Do you love zebras?

If you are a fan of zebras, you can opt for a design like this (pictured). But the look of your phone can change along with your mood.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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Three phones

These three phones are the same Spiral 2 prototype; each one shown here with different designs, modules.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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Google's first modular phones

Google said it will start a market pilot program in Puerto Rico for the Ara phones beginning later this year. The company will use the data to plan for a planned global launch at some point in the future.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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17 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

Packaging concepts

Google has also taken the time to create concepts for modular packaging of the Ara, as shown here.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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Not tacos, but...

The company is creating retail shops that look like food trucks where people can come see the products.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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19 of 19 Juan Garzón/CNET

An experience

Google wants its trucks to offer a real "experience."

These will not only showcase different modular phones, but will offer free Internet access and other incentives to lure more people to its phones.

Read: Google to test build-it-yourself Ara smartphones in Puerto Rico.

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