Rick Osterloh came to Google as its head of hardware and he came at a very pivotal time. We’re finally seeing and hearing good news from Google’s Advanced Technologies and Products unit about the modular smartphone product that has raised expectations and broken promises for over a year now.
One of Project Ara’s chiefs said that developer kits for the the smartphone and modules will ship later this year. Consumer editions will debut next year. According to WIRED, about 30 people in the Ara group have a prototype as a daily driver.
Cameras, processors and screens actually do snap into the body via UniPro contacts, an open, fast and power-efficient connector standard. Other “Style” modules fill in the gaps where nothing needs to be added in — just because.
The project started back at Osterloh’s Motorola back in 2013. Then-parent company Google took the project from there. It had prototypes and developer kits ready early in the following year, but a dearth of developments since when Ara was supposed to have been piloted in Puerto Rico had many wondering what the heck was going on at Google.
While the hope is to expand Project Ara’s portfolio of form factors, the challenge hasn’t even started yet for the smartphone.