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(Pocket-lint) - Google has reportedly suspended all plans to launch a modular smartphone. The interchangeable phone concept has been shelved in order to streamline the company's hardware strategy, it is claimed.

The software giant has been expected to ship development units of the device at the end of this year, with a consumer model ready for 2017. According to Reuters, however, this is no longer the case.

The news site revealed that it received confirmation from two separate, unnamed sources. They each said the project had been canned - or at least suspended, in the same way that Google Glass was suspended last year.

It will come as a shock to many considering it announced partners for Project Ara as recently as a dedicated developers conference in May. However, there is also slim hope that those third-parties will continue their work and potentially bring the device to market without Google's direct input.

Project Ara was an ambitious concept in which you could swap different hardware modules to build or upgrade the phone that suits you most. Other companies have also announced plans for a similar device, but none have become available as yet. The closest we've got so far is the LG G5 and Moto Z with their adaptable modded add-ons.

Writing by Rik Henderson.