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.

project ara_03

Google’s Project Ara team posted a few message on Twitter letting us know a few things:

  1. The marketing pilot will not take place in Puerto Rico, as originally planned.
  2. Project Ara will eventually be available in Puerto Rico… at some point.
  3. 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.

via /r/Android

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20 replies on “Google scraps Puerto Rico pilot for Project Ara modular smartphone”

  1. It also seems to, that Google will allow other linux based OS than Android been used on
    Project Ara-phones!

  2. Finally! I’ve been waiting for an update and contacted them via social media and got no response.
    Good to see the project is still going on and is not dead.
    I wonder what they will reveal next week?

  3. google should try ara in india … those nerds will go bonkers for it!

  4. Puerto Rico has been in the news quite a bit alongside Greece this summer, relating to debt and economic woes. Not sure if that had anything to do with the change in plans, but it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how clouds of economic uncertainty would obscure the pilot results.

    I’ve never thought Ara was certain, but I really hope it sees the light of day. In a world where ‘mini’ phones are now as big as the first phablets, it’d be nice to have two reasonable sizes to choose from (medium endo is iphone 5ish, small is similar to some larger flip phones) and be able to tailor their specs respectably as well.

  5. I’ve been wondering what was up with Project Ara as we haven’t heard much in a while. I hope they don’t cancel the entire project, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  6. Transitory and international monopoly capitalists google strike again. They like, use you and stab you in the back and support military bombings of countries – Syria and others. Google is scum of the earth.

        1. Well, fat lot of good that link does — subscription only. What has any of this got to do with the article?

          1. don is actually the patsy for another capitalist overlord and he’s spreading FUD about a competitor. I mean, what self respecting conpsi-theorist has a subscription to Newsweek?

            He gives paranoid conspiracy theorists a bad name.

          2. He works for WCIS! Wal-mart Counter Intelligence Services. We already know they own the world!

          3. Had me wondering too, so I did a search and it seems that there’s a article under the same title on wikileaks, it’s probably the original article and you can read that instead…

            Summary, it’s apparently highlighting links between Eric Schmidt/Google and the US government… Suggesting Google’s geopolitical aspirations go deep and don is probably inferring that this means Google’s decision is being influenced by politics…

            But it’s a lot of conspiratorial suggestiveness, instead of clear smoking gun, probably take it with a pinch of salt like everything else that comes out of wikileaks and appears to be mainly a opinion piece but may have some truth behind it, at least as far as Eric Schmidt goes…

          4. The nightly news, and the corporate internet is nothing but propaganda. I wonder do you call the national and local news and the corporate internet propaganda machines opinion pieces also?

          5. Most of them, yes… The days of journalist only reporting the news without bias is pretty much gone!

            But there’s more than one form of propaganda and people just have to be smarter about filtering the facts from the spin…

        1. Your love of ignorance and do nothingness is astoundingly normal, whether you are USA, UK or Canadian. Just get out of the way when people organize and share information ok? That is the best thing you can do.

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