Despite not meeting the target 2016 launch, and being off the grid for some time, the modular smartphone from Project Ara is back and it has gotten some improvements. It's even expected to be available by next year.

At last week's Google I/O event, Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, the team behind Project Ara, revealed that developer units of the current model of the phone will be available in the fourth quarter of the year, with consumer units aimed to follow in 2017.

At the event, Rafa Camargo, Technical and Engineering Lead of Project Ara, presented the progress of the project, showcasing the developer unit along with some of the modules. The new Ara boasts a sleeker design and supports up to six modules. Camargo demonstrated the simple "plug-and-play" feature of these in his presentation.

At the moment, some of the modules include cameras, tiny displays, and louder speakers. These are from the company's partners actively developing for Project Ara's modules such as E Ink, Toshiba, Gotenna, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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