Google’s modular smartphone isn’t just an interesting concept anymore, as Google is very interested in offering such devices to users next year. Project Ara phones will let users build whatever smartphone they desire — provided they have access to the appropriate modules — and Google will create a special, Google Play Store-like storefront where modules developers will be able to sell their creations.
“By following the Android model, we are creating a free and open platform…” Google’s Paul Eremenko said in an interview at Purdue University. ”The Ara MDK is free and open and available to everybody, so everybody could create a module per the specifications of the developer’s kit and put it in the Ara module marketplace, which is analogous to the Google Play store, and sell directly to consumers.”
It’s not clear at this time how much these modules will cost, and how many of them will be available to buyers initially, but the company should reveal more details about Project Ara as soon as the first devices become available to interested buyers.
However, Google did say in late September that Project Ara phones will run a customized version of Android Lollipop, which should be launched starting with early November for certain Nexus devices. More interestingly, Google has revealed that Project Ara users will be able to swap out modules without turning off the handset, as long as they aren’t processor and/or display replacement modules.
A video of Eremenko’s interview follows below.