News about Google’s Project Ara, the effort to transform smartphones from these pre-configured all-or-nothing options we have now to something much more modular, akin to a build-it-yourself PC, has been absolutely exploding in recent weeks. Just a few days back we were checking out the release of the Ara Module Developers Kit, and this week brings the arrival of the first Ara dev conference, which kicked off earlier today. There, Google shared some of its vision for what’s up next for Ara, including when we can expect this hardware to actually go up for sale.
Google’s ETA for when users should be able to get their hands on the base Ara handset (which is still supposed to go for just just $50) is January, 2015.
We’ve got a long way to go before then: up next, Google intends to finish work on Ara’s power bus in May, followed by the second Ara dev conference in July. August should mark the arrival of an alpha build of a 3D printer intended to help create the individual Ara modules, and September’s when Google’s hoping to complete work on system-level functions. Carrier approval, FCC, certification, and all that are on the calendar for November, and a later beta version of that 3D printer project is due in January, right around the time this initial Ara handset goes up for sale.
Considering just how extensive an undertaking this is, and how foreign it must feel to engineers used to working on more monolithic smartphones, this sounds like a pretty ambitious pace to keep up, but one we’re nonetheless excited to see Google committing to.