Today’s the day that Google is hosting its second Project Ara developer conference, and we’ve already gotten some interesting bits of information out of the event.
First up, Google gave us a close look at the Sprial 2 prototype for Project Ara. As we already know, there are two processors available for Spiral 2: a Marvell chip and the Tegra K1. The screen used on Sprial 2 has a resolution of 1280x720, and the device has a 3G cellular radio.
The magnets that hold modules in place on the Spiral 2 have been moved into the frame of the endoskeleton, which will leave more room for the modules themselves. Google also revealed that there won’t be 3D-printed modules available at the outset because they’re not quite ready for high production volumes. Instead, modules will be made of injection-molded polycarbonate plastic and will be customizable with high-res, full color images.
Finally, Google teased some of the changes that it’s got planned for its Spiral 3 prototype. Those include new magnets and moving the antennas of the phone into the endoskeleton rather than putting them in modules. Additionally, support for larger batteries will be included, as will 4G LTE connectivity. Google also hopes to have around 20 or 30 modules available later in 2015, up from the 11 that it’s got now, including a “state-of-the-art or better” camera.
So when can you get your mitts on one? Well, Google has said in the past that it planned to get Project Ara into consumers hands in January 2015. Today El Goog revealed that Ara will launch in Puerto Rico in 2015 as part of a limited pilot test. There are several reasons for Google’s choice of Puerto Rico for its testing, including it being a mobile-first market, equal sales of entry-level and high-end phones, and the fact that PR is within FCC jurisdiction, which will let Google continue work on regulatory approval.
Overall it looks like Google ATAP is making some nice progress with Project Ara. Obviously it’s kind of a bummer that it’ll be a while before anyone outside of Puerto Rico gets to buy one, but with features like beefier batteries, improved cameras, and 4G LTE coming with the Sprial 3 prototype, the wait could be worth it since we’ll get a much better end product when Ara does finally launch to the public.