Project Ara Market Pilot Later This Year
Google’s Project Ara is a novel idea that started off in Motorola’s Advanced Technologies and Projects department, a department absorbed into Google after the announcement of Lenovo’s acquisition. Google has been actively developing prototypes of the device in an effort to get it into production as soon as possible.
At the recent Project Ara developer’s conference, Google announced that Project Ara has entered a new phase in development. Earlier this year, we covered a story in which we mentioned that the modular device had entered a new phase of development called “Spiral 2”. The current Spiral 2 prototypes which were shown off at developer conference are running on the NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor with a 720p HD display and a 5-MegaPixel camera and more. Development is about to go on into Spiral 3, though not much is known about Spiral 3 aside from the details in the picture below.
After development moves along on Spiral 3, Google has announced that they will be undertaking a market pilot in Puerto Rico. This pilot will be undertaken later this year in the second half. Project Ara will apparently be launched on both OpenMobile and Claro in Puerto Rico. The rationale behind Google choosing Puerto Rico stems from the extremely diverse nature of the market in Puerto Rico. The country’s market is unique in that it is made of a broad number of users on both smartphones and feature phones which are spread out among US, Puerto Rico and local mobile carriers. In terms of expansion, the country shows a unique pattern of a 1:1 ratio of adoption among high-end flagships and low-end entry level devices.
Google’s ATAP division will be using a unique marketing approach. They intend to open up a number vehicles modeled after food trucks to sell Project Ara devices and modules. At launch, Google expects to have 20-30 modules available across multiple categories. The modules here are individual blocks which attach to the Project Ara endo. In an attempt to further their reach, Google has also partnered with different schools in the University of Puerto Rico system to entice developers.