Jan 14th, 2015

Project Ara-tested.com

You read that right. At the second Ara Module Developers’ Conference today, Google announced that they’ve identified a market for the initial pilot for Project Ara. That market is Puerto Rico, and it was chosen for its “mobile-first” society where a vast majority of citizens use mobile smartphones as their primary means of connecting to the internet. No word on how long it’ll take to eke out of that part of the world, but we’re promised we’ll be kept in the loop.

While Google will have a sizable roster of carrier partners to test the modular smartphone with, the company also envisions another method of selling modules: food trucks.

Chinese-food_truck_in_Nouméa,_New_Caledonia,_2011

Well, sort of. You won’t be able to order a 32GB Ara module with a side of fried rice, but they will use similarly-equipped trucks to place vending stations in high traffic markets (sort of like seeing a smartphone kiosk inside a mall). You can see an example of one of these trucks used

Thankfully Google confirmed that the first market pilot and the eventual global launch is still on track for 2015, though not without moving through a few more much-needed iterations of Ara. Today we were treated to the revelation of the spiral 2 endo skeleton revisions that will push the platform to the next step. It included the introduction of several new module types, including a speaker module, a pollution sensor module and an extended battery module.

They also touched on changes to the endo skeleton that allows antennae modules to communicate with other separate modules to enable multiple data and voice radios. This would, for example, allow 3G and 4G radios to exist in their own spots on the endo skeleton instead of the two needing to be stuffed into the same module. It’s the first step toward equipping Project Ara with full connectivity for use in an actual cellular environment.

spiral 2

And that’s just what they’ve introduced today. They already have early plans for the spiral 3 revision. It’s due in Q2 2015 and is set to be the last major revision ahead of the pilot test.

Those plans include more space for battery modules, improvements to a contact-less data transmission platform that increases the quality and reliability of a module, and changes that allow the endo skeleton itself to be used as an antenna to help radio performance (particularly for high-frequency network bands).

spiral 3

The developer conference is still ongoing, so be sure to head here to follow along if you’re interested in any of it. Warning: it’s really technical stuff, so if you’re not a developer or an extreme tech head then you’ll probably hear more jibberish than anything else. We’ll keep you guys posted if anything new comes from Google’s cool halls within Mountain View.

 

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