Google's modular phone takes shape

Last updated 16:03 16/07/2014

PROJECT ARA: Google's modular smartphone prototype.

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This post was originally published on Mashable.

Project Ara, Google's ambitious plan to create customisable modular smartphones, just moved one step closer to becoming reality.

The tech giant is now accepting applications from developers interested in receiving development boards, which will be used to create the first Project Ara modules.

The goal of Project Ara, led by Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, is to create customisable phones that will be made up of individual single-function modules. This will enable users to build personalised smartphones, and swap out individual components - such as the processor or camera - without replacing the entire device.

The first boards are expected to ship at the end of July, and are "designed to help with prototyping and development of modules for the Ara platform, including modules for the current (first) prize challenge that we formally announced at Google I/O," Google wrote in an email to developers.

Developers interested in applying for the first round of development kits will have until July 17 to submit applications, while the window for the second round will close August 17, according to the email. There is a limited supply of the first boards, and Google said it will grant submissions based on "technical experience and the strength of your module concept."

Google showed off some of the first boards in April during its Project Ara developer conference, and ATAP head Paul Eremenko demoed a somewhat functioning Ara prototype last month at Google I/O.

Some of the first boards will go to teams competing in Project Ara's prize challenge - also announced during I/O - which will award $100,000 to the winning team based on four criteria, including whether or not the module enables "something you can't do today with a smartphone."

Mashable is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.

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