Google has announced Project Ara will begin beta testing in Puerto Rico later this year. Citizens will be able to test the modular smartphone through Google’s delivery trucks, which it will hire to tour the Caribbean island (this isn’t a joke) and show off the beauty of modules.
It might seem like a story from an alternate universe, but Google is confident this truck system will give them a quantitive range of voices on the topic, capable of testing 20-30 modules.
The modules will be typical battery, camera, USB, microSD and even things like heart-rate sensors. At the end of the 50 second video (below), Google goes into more weird modules, like a piano, a Google Maps module, night vision and even a D-Pad.
Google has shown off the second iteration of Project Ara to some press teams, allowing them to decipher the differences. Google has essentially made the magnets more magnetic, brought energy levels down on the main-frame and focused on design for the modules.
It is still a year or two away from reality, according to Google executives, but the plan is to gain feedback from Puerto Rico, launch a small beta test later on in the year, and eventually launch the device in quarter four 2015 or early in 2016.
Project Ara could be a hugely successful change in the mobile world, or it may fail completely, depending on Google’s investment in hardware partners, marketplace and getting the phone into stores and onto carrier networks.
Google Glass looked like the future when Google released its first video in 2013, but it has stagnated since then, leading to 2015 where almost nobody is talking about Google Glass (except Tesco) and even executives are losing interest in the augmented reality.
Even though Google is a titan in the software field, they seem to lack critical focus when it comes to hardware, leading to hundreds of amazing ideas and prototypes, but little outstanding products.