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Zach Mauch
Attends University of Oklahoma
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Zach Mauch

commented on a video on YouTube.
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Please Please Please do one of two things.

1. a portrait slider endo with a space for a keyboard/gamepad modele.
2. a portrait slide attachment for the medium endo that would allow for the same thing.
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I second this!!!
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The Problem with Project Ara, and the simple way to fix it.

Edit: Re-posted for public sharing. 

I want to start this off by saying I LOVE Project Ara. It is a wonderfully implemented project and I truly believe it will revolutionize the industry. Over the next few years, we are going to see this project bloom. Out of it will come amazing capabilities that we could have only dreamed to have in a mobile device. However, the recent video released by Phoneblocks highlighted to me its glaring flaw. 

Fret not, all is not lost. This flaw, though problematic, has a very simple solution. It likely wouldn’t take a massive redesign of the project, just some delays. …but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let’s explain the problem.

The Problem

Project Ara's vision of a modular smartphone is both empowering and limiting. Though one can create any hardware module they want for it, the size of the overall device has been firmly set by the size of an individual module.  Recent information has given us a picture of all 3 endo sizes (or endo-skeleton, this is the chasis for the device). I've replicated this in the first picture attached to this post.

As you can see, the size of the devices themselves is driven by the size of the module. The Medium Endo  is 6 modules high by 3 modules wide, or 6x3. In the same vein, the large is 7x4, and the small is 5x2.

Recent estimates of the size of medium endo, using the known size of its micro-usb port, have pegged it at around 72mm wide. With this information, we can estimate a module to be 24mm x 24mm.  This works out very well for the medium and primary endo at 72mm x 144mm.  This is right in line with current flag ships. The problem comes with the other two sizes.

The current aspect ratio of phones and their screens has been iterated on for years and now it has become pretty standard with 16x9 screens and about a 2:1 height to width ratio. Driven by the need to keep in step with the module size, the small endo is a bean poll that, in my opinion, no one will want. Many argue for a smaller device, but not like this. 

Our estimated module size puts the dimensions of this device at 120mm x 48mm.  That’s over 10mm narrower than the iphone 5s. Think about that for a second.  How the hell is anyone going to be able to type on a portrait keyboard with that size phone? 

The large endo shares a similar problem to the small size, but in reverse. It is far too wide. At 96mm wide, it is wider than any phablet I could find on the market today. That’s right, wider than the Samsung note 3 (77mm), wider than the HTC One Max (82.5mm), and even wider than Sony’s MASSIVE Z Ultra (92.5mm). This, again in my opinion, is pushing the boarders too far for customers.

The Solution

In the smartphone world, it’s been proven over time that millimeters makes the difference for a phone’s desirability and success. Shunning these proven standards in both the large and small variants will mean that neither will be successful. Fortunately, this is Project Ara we’re talking about here. Everything is modular and most anything can be changed. So the solution is simple, just change the endo.

As you can see from the second attached picture, the large endo has been narrowed by ½ a module while the small has widened by ½ a module. That half module of space would unfortunately have to be non-modular and the bar I've added to mine would be filler casing to maintain the look of the device. However, it wouldn't have to be unused. Google could possibly put this space to use with a built in reserve battery.

However it is done, this minor change does solve the more pressing problem of overall size. The Large endo would be 168mm x 84mm, which is roughly the same size as the HTC One Max (164.5mm x 82.5mm). Meanwhile, the small endo at 120mm x 60mm would be roughly the same size as the iPhone 5s (123.8mm x 58.6mm).  What we are left with is all the right options in size, all the advantages of Project Ara, and minimal compromises.

#ProjectAra #Phoneblocks
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Personally I think your design compromises the large form factor too much. From four medium and five large modules to one tiny, four medium and three large.

I do agree that the small frame seems too svelte.   I would probably purchase the medium and large initially.  If this project gets traction, we'll see a multitude of various endos in short order.
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Zach Mauch

commented on a video on YouTube.
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Damn do I miss the keyboard on that thing.  I might pay double if I could get a keyboard like that on a modern 5 inch screen android flagship.
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Systems Engineer
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I'm a technology enthusiast with the heart of an entrepreneur.
Introduction
I'm a true oklahoman. I graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and from The University of Oklahoma with an MBA.  I'm currently employeed by Lockheed Martin and work in the Oklahoma City area.  Where will the future take me? That I'm unsure of, but I've got a few ideas.
Education
  • University of Oklahoma
    Masters of Business Administration, 2011 - present
  • Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology
    Electrical Engineering, 2002 - 2007
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This place is brand new and they are SPECTACULAR. We are getting it close to once a week now. The food is very clean and not at all greasy like most Chinese food. It actually reminds me of Pei Wei. They also advertise no MSG which is HUGE for a Chinese Restaurant. Additionally, my parents happened to discover it at the same time and sent me a text recommending it without any mention from me. I honestly can't say enough about this place. Even the prices are great. Give it a try, you won't regret it.
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