Skip to main content

Google’s modular Project Ara smartphone close to completion, will hit Puerto Rico first

project ara close completion launch this year concept
Image used with permission by copyright holder
During Google’s second Project Ara Module Developers Conference, project lead Paul Eremenko announced that the build-your-own handset is this much closer to completion. He also told the crowd to expect a soft launch later this year in the United States’ most well-known commonwealth: Puerto Rico.

A much-improved third prototype

According to Google, work on Spiral 2, Ara’s second official prototype, took place since July of last year. However, the next iteration, Spiral 3, will one-up it in several different areas. For one, by way of Engadget, Eremenko said we can expect Spiral 3 to “match or exceed the functionality of a state-of-the-art smartphone today.” By that, he means the new prototype will have 20-30 third-party modules available for developers to play around with.

In addition, you should expect Spiral 3’s battery to last you through the end of the day. The latest prototype will also support high-end camera modules and 4G LTE connectivity, which is quite the step up from Spiral 2’s 3G connectivity.

The biggest change to Spiral 3 is one that you won’t see: The electro-permanent magnets that hold the modules in place are now sent to the endoskeleton. This move was made in order for companies to have more room to work with when it comes to putting in as much functionality into their modules as possible.

Speaking of modules, Eremenko revealed that, while you’ll be able to customize your own Ara device through the Ara Marketplace and Ara Configurator apps, custom designs won’t be made through 3D printing. According to Eremenko, such a process wouldn’t be as fast as Google would like it to be. In its place is what Google calls “dye sublimation,” a process that lets El Goog design polycarbonate shells with high-resolution imagery in a fraction of the time it takes for 3D printing to do the same.

Google hopes to move to the Spiral 3 design sometime during the second quarter of 2015.

Project Ara lanzará en Puerto Rico

If you didn’t realize it yet, the above heading is in Spanish. That’s because Eremenko revealed Project Ara will launch a pilot program in Puerto Rico through partnerships with carriers OpenMobile and Claro later this year.

About 20 to 30 Ara modules sprawling 10 different categories should be ready to go by the time the pilot program launches. As a way for Google to have people try out Ara before plunking down the cash for it, “food-truck” style stores will presumably go through main spots in Puerto Rico to allow people to test one out first.

As reported by the Verge, Google is launching this pilot program as a way to gauge what works with consumers and what doesn’t work, with the goal being to continually improve on the hardware. Moreover, Google wants to gauge how consumers will balance this new paradox of choice for something like the Ara.

“We have to carefully curate and manage the way that choice is presented so as not to overwhelm the consumer,” said Eremenko.

Editors' Recommendations

Williams Pelegrin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Williams is an avid New York Yankees fan, speaks Spanish, resides in Colorado, and has an affinity for Frosted Flakes. Send…
The best iPhone accessories in 2023: 12 great ones to buy
You need these awesome accessories for your new phone
iPhone 12 Mini with charger

You just got your hands on the latest and greatest iPhone, huh? Congrats! Now, before you start taking selfies and browsing the web, there's one crucial step you need to take to protect your investment: buying a case, such as an Phone 15 case or iPhone 15 Pro case. While you're at it, why not check out all the awesome accessories available for your phone? There’s something for everyone, from fancy cables to high-tech earbuds to gaming controllers.

Whether you just upgraded to a brand-spanking new iPhone 15 or something else, here are some of the best iPhone accessories you can buy in 2023.

Read more
Walmart iPhone deals: Get a prepaid iPhone from just $149
A close-up of the iPhone 14 Pro's camera module.

If you're looking for cheap iPhone deals, Walmart is an excellent source, especially if you're fine with buying smartphones that are locked to prepaid plans. Various models of Apple's mobile device are on sale right now, and we've rounded up the top offers. You're going to have to hurry if you're interested in taking advantage of any of these Walmart iPhone deals though, as we're not sure when their prices will return to normal.
iPhone SE 2022 (64GB) -- $149, was $379

The Apple iPhone SE 2022 is the latest iteration of the budget iPhone series, but it's not limited at all in most aspects. It's powered by Apple's A15 Bionic chip, which is the same processor in the iPhone 14 series, so it's snappy and responsive, and it's protected by the Touch ID fingerprint recognition system. Its 4.7-inch Retina HD display is relatively small, but for those who prefer compact screens, it may be the perfect size. The 64GB of storage space may no longer be enough for some people, but you can support that by signing up for an iCloud subscription.

Read more
Does the iPhone 15 break easily? What you really need to know
And iPhone 15 Pro Max in white with a hammer head sitting on top.

Just days after the iPhone 15 series arrived in stores and people's homes, the list of controversies about the new phones has continued to grow. First, there were concerns the iPhone 15 had an overheating problem. Now, an alarming online test suggests that at least one of the four new iPhone 15 models can break easily.

Has Apple released inferior iPhones? Should you be worried? There are a few things to keep in mind.
How did this iPhone 15 controversy get started?

Read more