Google now has been working on Project Ara for more than a year, and the
company at I/O 2014 even detailed the project's progress
. The Mountain
View giant, as part of the I/O session, even booted - or at least tried
to boot - a Project Ara
smartphone in public for the first time.
Now continuing its efforts to
make the Project Ara handsets a reality for end users, the company has
announced 100 Project Ara beta testers.
On its 'dscout' site,
Google has listed the 100 beta testers
and said, "Since October 2013, over 90,000
have signed up to make Project Ara a reality. Your passion and
creativity were - and are - instrumental in turning an idea into a
product. As promised, the 100 most active Ara scouts will be among the
first to receive a phone - gratis. We couldn't have done it without
Notably, this will be the first time when Google will be
sending prototype units of Project Ara outside the development team of
the ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects).
The company also
shared its upcoming plans for the Project Ara and hinted that Google
will work on the Ara prototype for the next eight months. Google said,
"Over the next 8 months, Google will continue to refine the Ara
prototype. When it ships, we'll need your feedback and advice once more.
In the meantime, there's plenty more to do!"
In related news,
Google's Project Ara Design Head, Dan Makoski, announced his exit from
the company. Makoski in his blog post said, "Starting tomorrow, there will be no more free lunches, subsidized
massages, weekly company meetings, ringing colorful bicycle bells, or
working with the brilliant pirates at Google's Advanced Technology &
Projects team, or ATAP. But starting tomorrow, I also open my next
chapter as VP of Design at Capital One, with an initial focus on mobile
commerce and payments."
For those unaware, Google's main concept
behind Project Ara is to enable consumers
to design their smartphones, and have the ability to add features to
it as they feel the need. The project hopes to kick-start an era of
do-it-yourself smartphones and the report notes that "Google is adamant
that it's not targeting geeks." It was announced last year and Google at its first-ever Ara Developers' Conference,
also showed off new modular smartphone designs.