Lost in the tidal wave of news coverage this week about Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) decision to reorganize itself and split out its businesses under a holding company called Alphabet was the fate of Google's many projects under its Advanced Technology and Projects group. One of the most high-profile of those, Project Ara, indicated this week that it's not giving up on its mission of creating modular smartphones.
Project Ara's official Twitter account had not sent out a tweet since May 29 during Google's I/O developer summit. Then starting on Wednesday the account lit up to let the world know that Project Ara is still ticking and that: "We've been busy...making stuff," with apologies for the hiatus.
"We've got some updates to share...let's do this," the account posted, noting that there will be a "Market pilot re-route" and to "stay tuned for more details."
After that, Project Ara's account tweeted, "And this is not goodbye Puerto Rico! Nos vemos en el futuro!," with the Spanish translating into: "See you in the future!"
The account promised more updates next week and said not to worry, Project Ara "isn't going anywhere!"
Shortly after the I/O conference, where a Project Ara prototype was demonstrated, Paul Eremenko, who had led the Ara team, announced he was leaving Google to become the founding CEO of a new innovation center in Silicon Valley for defense and aerospace giant Airbus.
In January Google said it would have a pilot launch for Project Ara in Puerto Rico during the second half of 2015. At the time, Google said that when the pilot launched, users would be able to alter or customize their devices using the Ara Marketplace and Ara Configurator apps to help manage the phone's different modules and troubleshoot issues. Google also planned to open several "food-truck"-style stores for consumers to actually test and explore the devices before they use them. Google said it aimed to have around 20 to 30 Ara modules available across 10 different categories by the time the pilot program launched.
- see this Twitter page
- see this Engadget article
- see this Phone Arena article
Google's Pichai could shake up Android, but likely not at first
Google to launch Project Ara modular smartphone pilot program in Puerto Rico in 2015
Google's Project Ara gets a modular phone rival in startup Vsenn
Google's Project Ara will let users swap out modules as needed
Google wants first Project Ara smartphone to go on sale in January 2015
Google to launch developer conferences for Project Ara modular smartphone program