Google announced today that it is planning a pilot project for its Project Ara to run in Puerto Rico. People will be able to test out the phones made by Project Ara which features a unique modular design which allows users to change the hardware according to their likings. The user would theoretically be able to change or upgrade any one aspect of his phone, such as the camera, screen, or battery, without having to dispose of the rest of the device.
According to Google, this test run will allow people to toy with the phones by assembling all the pieces together by themselves. Google said while addressing a conference at its corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California that it will then collect the data and will analyze it to plan a global launch for the Project Ara smartphones later this year.
Project Ara is Google’s attempt at making a greener, more cost effective smartphone with interchangeable parts. Think of it like Lego where different pieces are put together to form a single unit or a structure. The interesting thing to note here is that users don’t have to rely on any one manufacturer for this. Parts are available for different manufacturers and users can simply choose any part from any manufacturer they want. This way, people can build a smartphone that they specifically want with just the pieces they want.
Let’s say that after sometime, a user wants to have a high quality camera; they can just purchase a new camera module and swap it out with the old one. Similarly, if a part is outdated, users can simply change that part instead of changing the whole smartphone.
Google is also setting up an online market where people can choose which parts they want in their phones and then assemble them and ship it to them. Google is also working on creating retail shops in the form of mobile trucks which will showcase the Project Ara and how it works.