Google is testing out its modular smartphone in Puerto Rico
Remember Phonebloks, that interesting idea for a modular smartphone that popped up about a year and a half ago? If you need a refresher you can always watch the explanation video that introduced the idea, which was passed around quite a bit across various social media websites, but the gist of it is this: all of your smartphone’s components come in the form of “Bloks” that are completely interchangeable, meaning if you want to replace a component, you simply remove the corresponding Blok from your device and put in a new one.
It wasn’t too long after the Phonebloks video, as well as the subsequent explanation video, managed to gather millions of views from interested consumers that word of Google’s own modular smartphone project began to circulate across the web.
Known as Project Ara, Google’s attempt to bring modular smartphones to market doesn’t differ much from Phonebloks as far as core ideas are concerned. The biggest difference is the fact that Project Ara has one of the largest and well-known technology companies in the world backing, the same company that develops the world’s most popular smartphone operating system. It’s safe to say that Project Ara is much more likely to succeed than Phonebloks, especially considering that Google has already announced a “Market Pilot” for the device.
Google announced the plane earlier today at its second annual Project Ara developer’s conference at the Googleplex in Mountain View, where Google’s Paul Eremenko and Regina Dugan mapped out the history and future goals of the project. More details on this can be viewed on the official website, but the arguably one of the biggest announcements so far is the fact that Google will be working with carriers Claro and OpenMobile in order to bring the Market Pilot for Project Ara to Puerto Rico. Google’s reasoning for this is that the diversity of Puerto Rico would enable the company to test both the domestic and international markets, as well as technological issues, all at the same time. Pretty clever.
The current version of the modular smartphone, Spiral 2, is actually pretty lackluster, but obviously this is still a work in progress. The Spiral 3 is the device that Google will be bringing to Puerto Rico, which will feature 4G LTE capability, an all-day battery, a competitive camera module, and some specs that are comparable to some of today’s high-end flagship smartphones. Google hopes to sell these Market Pilots through a series of food truck-like mobile stores. While I can’t imagine Google persuading me to ditch my OnePlus One, I’m still extremely excited to see how Project Ara plays out.