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January 15, 2015

Puerto Rico Testing Ground For Project Ara

Google Expects to Launch Modular Phones in Third Quarter

Motorola image — Initial design ideas.

It’s been quiet on Google’s Project Ara front lately but that changed Wednesday when it was announced the company is planning a launch this year in Puerto Rico.


The flag of Puerto Rico

The project, which involves a modular cellular phone that customers will be able to customize by adding modules to a basic framework, was initially expected to launch this month. However, the project is now slated for a third quarter launch in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico was chosen as the launch location due to the high volume of cellphone usage, The Washington Post reported.

Jessica Beavers, a Google marketing executive, explained with more than 90 percent of households on the island using cellphones it seemed a natural location to test the project.

All of this makes for a truly interesting carrier landscape,” she said at a module developers conference at Google’s headquarters in California.

An interesting aspect of the launch, as noted by Computer World, is how Google plans to sell the devices. The company will establish mobile sellers — think of traveling food trucks — to serve as retail outlets where the basic version of the phone will be available.

Early indications show the phone is expected to sell for between $50 and $100.

Carl Lizarraga, a San Juan engineer, told The Washington Post it’s too early to tell if the project and the product will be a success.

“Typically, the island isn’t used as a testing ground for this sort of project,” he said. “I’m not planning on buying it yet as at this point it seems more a gimmick than anything else. When the idea is further developed and able to compete with the current flagships, I would consider it.”


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.