Google looks for new Project Ara test markets as it shifts deployment to next year

Google’s Project Ara is one of the most promising efforts to reimagine the way smartphones are constructed, breaking the mold of the pre-configured handset we’re used to and taking a positively modular approach, allowing users to build the phone of their dreams by combining any number of individual phone components: camera, battery, screen, and more. Ara was supposed to make its public debut in the form of a trial program in Puerto Rico this year, but last week we learned that things had hit a snag, and that the pilot program wouldn’t be getting underway as planned. What we didn’t know was much about the next step Ara would take, and were told to sit tight for news this week. Today Google starts sharing new details about how Ara will arrive, and while the effort is still happening, we’re not going to see anything until sometime next year.

Instead of Puerto Rico, Google now says that it’s “looking at a few locations in the U.S.” for its public Ara test run. It’s not ready to share details on specifically where it has in mind just yet, but its use of the hashtag #newlocationcomingsoon sure suggests that we’ll be learning about these lucky test markets in advance of the ultimate 2016 deployment.

Google doesn’t spend much time talking about exactly why the Puerto Rico Ara plan fell apart like it did, but references to “lots of iterations… more than we thought” may imply that as the Google Advanced Technology & Projects group began to appreciate just how varied all these Ara combinations were promising to be, it needed to find a much larger sample group than the island territory could offer. Considering the complexities involved with a project of this scope, we’re just glad to know that Google’s taking its time making sure it gets its testing done right.

Source: Project Ara 1,2,3 (Twitter)

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!