Project Ara is only just getting started, with the first dev conference still over a month away, but we’re understandably excited about the sort of possibilities the project promises to offer. We have a long way to go before any of this starts approaching the phase were it might be ready for commercial deployment, but that hasn’t stopped Google (and Motorola before it) from sharing with us some images of its early design prototypes. At the Launch festival in San Francisco this week, Google’s Paul Eremenko took to the stage to talk a little about Ara and offer a demo of how the hardware might work.

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We get to see how the Ara components populate the “endos” (endoskeletons) that will form the handsets’ backbones, as well as how the individual modules connect, using tiny magnets to stay in place. Eremenko makes a convenient comparison to the Play Store when describing how Google envisions the Ara ecosystem, where users can seek out just the components they need in order to give their phones the functionality they desire, much in the same way as how different users will install different sets of apps.

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There’s also a functional prototype, but plans to show it booting didn’t quite come together, so all we get to see is a still image of the hardware. Still, Eremenko managed to bring along a single module, showing off how interchangeable cases could allow users to customize aesthetics independently of the hardware itself.

Check out the rest of this Ara preview, including some looks at the different sized endos, in the lengthy clip below.

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