Pilot program for Project Ara, the Google-backed modular smartphone initiative, delayed until 2016

By Shawn Knight
Aug 18, 2015
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  1. Project Ara, the highly anticipated modular smartphone initiative backed by Google, has been delayed. The search giant originally planned to launch a pilot program for Project Ara later this year in Puerto Rico but that’s no longer in the cards.

    The Project Ara development team took to Twitter to announce the delay, breaking radio silence dating back to late May. A series of tweets revealed that Google is no longer looking to perform its market test in Puerto Rico and is instead looking at a few locations in the US.

    The team cited multiple iterations – more than anticipated – as the primary reason for the delay and promised more updates would be revealed next week.

    Project Ara is taking shape under Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) division and is being led by Paul Eremenko and Regina Dugan, both former DARPA employees. The idea is to create a modular smartphone in which individual components, or modules, can be easily swapped out to extend its lifecycle and reduce waste.

    It certainly sounds appealing although as Re/code points out, the real-world implementation may not be all that practical.

    Slim and sexy mobile devices are the current trend; a clunky smartphone could struggle to compete in the aesthetics department. What’s more, the modular nature of Project Ara could introduce performance bottlenecks and decrease battery efficiency by as much as 30 percent.

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