Google’s modular smartphone might still be a year away from public release, but Project Ara will be available for 100 lucky beta testers this month. The beta testers will be chosen at random, out of a pool of around 30,000 participants.
Project Ara was first revealed by Motorola, two days before Phonebloks finished their Thunderclap promotion. Google took over development of the modular smartphone somewhere in the middle, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects team now works on the modular smartphone.
We have seen little sneak previews and images of Project Ara, the original goal was to have one board, where users could add different sized modules. The beta product looks to have one size for each components, but these are interchangeable.
This would mean all manufacturers who want to work on Project Ara would have to stick to one size per component. This is harder said than done and we might see a lack of interest at the start from big name manufacturers.
We are not sure how much Google will offer the beta testers in terms of modules, whether the user will be given an already built smartphone and just test out the structure or if they will be given half a dozen different modules to check out.
Whatever the case, Google is prepared to send Project Ara out to beta testers and they plan to have a full launch on March 2015. The opening year might be a little bleak, as they try to grab more partnerships, but the modular smartphone should run on the newest version of Android, similar to a Nexus device.
The platform is open for developers and manufacturers to try out and the boards will offer new modules. For hardware developers, this could be the chance to implement a new sensor into a smartphone that would innovate the market, we hope to see this when Project Ara finally launches.