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Every few weeks, we catch another glimpse at the evolution of Project Ara, an initiative out of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division to build a modular smartphone. Today, a new video hit the web that shows a working prototype being put together and turned on at NK Labs, a Boston-based workshop that’s developing the Ara prototypes for Google based on all the progress that’s been made so far.

The video gives a look at the work being done on the “Spiral 1” iteration of the handset. One of NK Labs’ engineers explains that while plenty of progress has been made on Spiral 1, the forthcoming Spiral 2 will come much closer to realizing Google ATAP’s goal of a truly modular smartphone:

“In the Spiral 1 prototype, fifty percent of the space on the module is taken up for modularity, and so there’s not as much space for the developers’ function. But in Spiral 2, Toshiba made custom chips for us, and in Spiral 2 most of the area should be available for the developers’ function.”

The Spiral 2 prototype will be on display at two installments of its Module Developers Conference in January, with the first one taking place on January 14 for North America and Europe and the second happening on January 21 for Asia. The only downside to all of this progress is that it seems to be far more incremental than we’d hoped when we first heard about Project Ara a year ago. In April, Google said they’d have $50 Ara handsets available for purchase by this January – and clearly that won’t be happening. That said, it’s always better for something to work well before it’s released to the public, so I suppose I’m content to wait and watch the project develop. A cool modular smartphone is worth waiting for anyway, don’t you think?

[Source: 9to5Google, Project Ara on Google+]

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