Google plans to launch a “market pilot” of its ambitious Project Ara modular phone in Puerto Rico later this year, the company announced at a developers conference Wednesday.
The idea of the Project Ara is to create a mix-and-match smartphone where owners could buy and replace parts individually, instead of needing to buy a completely new phone every year or two. For example, you could buy the phone’s battery, camera, speaker, and screen all separately.
Google chose Puerto Rico to pilot the program, in part, because it has a diverse population of smartphone users, designated free trade zones, and same-day shipping anywhere on the island, reports Gizmodo’s Sean Hollister who attended the conference.
Google will turn a bunch of food trucks into travelling demo stations for its modular phone prototype, but couldn’t say when — or even if — a broad product launch would take place.
Project Ara got started within Google’s Advanced Technology and Products (ATAP) lab. Generally, ATAP projects are held to strict two-year launch deadlines, but ATAP boss Regina Dugan indicated at the conference that Project Ara could warrant more time.
Here’s Google’s latest video for the phone: