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Google’s Project Ara modular phones set for Puerto Rico pilot

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Google Project Ara

Google has announced it is preparing to trial its Project Ara smartphones later this year, but to get in on the modular action you’re going to have to move to Puerto Rico.

At the second Project Ara developer’s conference (via Engadget), Google confirmed the island, which is a US territory, would be getting first access to the test modules in the second half of 2015.

Why Puerto Rico? Well, according to Google it has a mobile-first market which is largely comprised of entry-level handsets, making it a good breeding ground.

Also, given the territory has an open free trade policy, Google reckons it’ll be easy for users to get the parts into the Puerto Rico. The island is also subject to FCC regulations, meaning the standards would need to comply with the United States’ too, which ideal for a future roll out on home soil.

Google is partnering with local networks OpenMobile and Claro which will eventually seek to offer 20 or 30 different hardware modules.

The devices will be purchasable from the Ara Marketplace and Ara Configurator apps, but Google is also planning to open up some mobile pop-up stores (described as “food truck style”) where interested parties can try before they buy.

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Currently the firm said it is working on the the Spiral 2 prototypes, which offer 3G calls, but plans to move onto a Spiral 3 design by the end of March.

That will open the door to 4G LTE connectivity, all day battery life (via a swappable module) and a more competitive camera proposition.

After the Spiral 3 is complete, the folks in Puerto Rico will be able to jump aboard.

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