The most exciting innovation in the mobile market finally has a release date. According to CNET, Google announced today at the Project Ara developers conference that its first modular smartphone will go on sale in January 2015 for the low price of $50. Project lead Paul Eremenko told the crowd that the initial model will be a boring gray device by design, so as not to distract from the additional physical components.
“It’s called the Gray Phone because it’s meant to be drab gray to get people to customize it,” said Eremenko.
Google has already released a Modular Development Kit (MDK) showcasing the variable endoskeletons that the company is considering, but there’s still a great deal of work to be done before the device will see the light of day. For example, although Project Ara supports Android, Android doesn’t yet support the drivers necessary for a modular phone to operate.
“It’s true that Android does not support dynamic hardware today,” said Eremenko. “The good news is that we’re Google.”
As expected, Google wants to remain “as hands-off as possible” once the base has launched. By April of next year, Eremenko says he’ll be done with Ara. It will be up to third-party developers and manufacturers to design the components — Google will support the ecosystem from behind the curtain. We should learn even more in July when Google will hold its next Ara developers conference.