Google’s modular smartphone initiative Project Ara is finally ready for the market debut, however it will only be available in US territory Puerto Rico in the form a pilot project later this year.
At the second Project Ara Developer Conference on Wednesday, project director Paul Eremenko revealed that Google is only comfortable releasing Ara phones in a pilot right now and actual market launch will take time.
The company is working with local telecom carriers Open Mobile and Claro for necessary carrier support for Ara phones. According to Google, Ara smartphones will be sold in the territory via mobile trucks, which will be located at various popular locations throughout Puerto Rico. These mobile trucks will house 3D printers and dye sublimation printers, so that the consumers can customise their new Ara smartphone right then and there.
The consumers will be able to buy either a ready-to-go kit with a pre-defined set of components and device endo (endoskeleton) or choose the endo and components of their liking.
Why Puerto Rico?
According to Google, Puerto Rico has a strong and diverse mobile penetration and is a designated free trade zone, allowing easy flow of parts and modules from all over the world. The island is also under the FCC (US regulator for telecom) jurisdiction, thus Google can still work out the regulatory approach to building and marketing such as a smartphone, despite being in the more manageable market.
Google hasn’t shared a final date for Ara launch in Puerto Rico, but we will let you folks know as soon as we hear something.