Google delays modular Project Ara phone launch, but it didn’t fail the drop test

google delays project ara 2016 version 1440010372
After publishing a set of cryptic tweets on the subject last week, Google announced that its modular Project Ara smartphone will be pushed back to 2016.

Updated on 08-21-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in statement from Google that Project Ara’s failed drop test comment was a joke. Google says it found a better way to hold the components together.

Through a set of tweets, Google explained that the delay was due to the company having more iterations of the smartphone that it had anticipated. As such, Google decided to delay the release for sometime next year:

Google further explained that Project Ara’s implementation of electropermanent magnets, which would theoretically allow for easy removal of modules while firmly remaining in place when not swapped, won’t be used on the final product. The search giant initially tweeted that Project Ara “failed the drop test,” but Google later said that tweet was a joke.”BTW #FailedTheDropTest was a joke,” Google tweeted. “Didn’t fail. We have been configuring a new solution. It’s better too. #WorkingOnOurHumor”

In the place of the magnets is what the company calls a “signature experience,” though Google didn’t expand on the phrase. Meanwhile, Project Ara’s design will also go under the knife, with some of the core functionality grouped together in order to have more space for more modules:

Unfortunately, this also means that the company’s test launch in Puerto Rico is not in the cards for this year, though Google said “this is not goodbye,” meaning the Mountain View company might still look at Puerto Rico as a launch site in the future. In the meantime, Google is also taking a look at a few locations in the U.S. as possible Project Ara launch locales:

Project Ara’s claim to fame is its ability to swap out different components, such as the camera, processor, and battery, without replacing the entire phone. After much anticipation, Google finally showed Project Ara power on for the first time during January’s Project Ara Module Developers Conference. During the event, Google revealed it would have used the aforementioned test launch in Puerto Rico to gauge what works and doesn’t work with consumers, as well as to improve the hardware using the feedback Google would have received.

Project Ara’s latest appearance was during May’s Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference. Unlike during January’s event, where Google only showed the phone powering on, Google I/O had the company powering on Project Ara and properly showing off the hot-swappable modules by swapping in the camera module to take a picture of the crowd.

Google didn’t specify when in 2016 it will launch Project Ara, though those looking to get their modular smartphone fix sooner can take a look at the Fairphone 2, which plans to take things in a slightly different direction by acting to rid itself of conflict minerals at a realistic pace.


Updated on 08-19-2015 by Williams Pelegrin: Added in information of Project Ara’s failed drop test and Google making more space for more modules.

Product Review

Simple and small, the Google Home Hub is your low-key smart screen

What’s small, simple, cute, and lacks a camera? The Google Home Hub is the latest smart display to hit the market. Powered by Google Assistant, there’s a lot to like about this device.

You can now use the innovative Red Hydrogen One on Google Fi

The Red Hydrogen One was first announced in 2017 and has been delayed a few times since then. Now, the Red Hydrogen One is finally available, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.

Google Fi: Phones, plans, pricing, perks, and more explained

Google's wireless service, formerly Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi, and it's now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about Google Fi.

Is Google launching a game-streaming service? Watch our GDC livestream to see

Google is presenting its 2019 GDC keynote on March 19. Here is how you can tune in to watch the event, as well as what could be shown during the presentation. Google's Project Stream service could be on the agenda.

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.
Product Review

The new iPad Mini isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here's our review of Apple’s 7.9-inch tablet.

Wring the most out of iOS with the best commands for Siri

You may not know all the things you can say to Siri -- after all, Apple never released an official list of commands for its virtual assistant. Thankfully, we've compiled a list of the best Siri commands to help you out.

Breeze through security with these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

Getting through airport security is a drag, but your laptop bag shouldn’t be. Thankfully, these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags will get you and your gear to your destination with ease.

Flex your thumbs (and your brain) with these fun texting games

Gaming consoles keep getting more advanced, but you can still have fun with the good old Latin alphabet. Here are our picks for the best texting games, so you can make the most fun out of that limited data plan or basic cell phone.

Alpina makes its AlpinerX smartwatch even more attractive with new colors

Alpina has introduced four new colors to its AlpinerX smartwatch range, breaking the usually sporty watch out into a more everyday casual design, and given the tech a slight makeover too.

New gold finish makes Frederique Constant’s hybrid smartwatch flashier than ever

Frederique Constant has found considerable success with its luxury hybrid smartwatch, the Hybrid Manufacture, and has launched several new color schemes to help bring it even more attention.

Tag Heuer’s Golf Edition smartwatch is a lot more than just a flash of new color

Tag Heuer's Golf Edition Connected Modular 45 smartwatch has a lot more going for it than just a flashy new color scheme. From the titanium body and black PVD coating to the new Golf app, this is a true special edition.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!