Google’s Project Ara is an effort to design a modular smartphone system that lets you customize your phone’s hardware and design by swapping out modules to add or remove cameras, batteries, storage, or even screens.
The company’s been working on the technology for a few years, and had planned to launch a marketing pilot in Puerto Rico before the end of 2015 in order to see how the project is received in a test market.
Now it looks like those plans have been scrapped… or at least changed.
Google’s Project Ara team posted a few message on Twitter letting us know a few things:
- The marketing pilot will not take place in Puerto Rico, as originally planned.
- Project Ara will eventually be available in Puerto Rico… at some point.
- More information is coming next week.
Right now we don’t know where Google plans to roll out its marketing pilot or when the test will launch.
The idea of the Project Ara phone is to offer endoskeletons that come in a few different sizes. A series of modules from Google and the company’s partners would offer cameras, batteries, displays, speakers, decorative rear panels, and other hardware that you can either purchase with the endoskeleton or separately. Many of the modules can even be swapped out without turning off your phone.
This could let you swap out hardware depending on your needs. Want longer battery life today? Just add an extra battery. Need an infrared camera for scientific experiments? Just swap out your normal camera for a specialized one.
It could also prolong the effective life of your smartphone by letting you upgrade hardware as new modules become available, rather than replacing your entire phone.
But before you can do any of those things, Google needs to actually bring the technology to market. And the first step will be a pilot program… held somewhere that’s not Puerto Rico.