Google has announced the projected availability of its ambitious Project Ara modular phone.
At Google's first Ara developer's conference on Tuesday in California, the company's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group detailed its ambitious modular phone dubbed Project Ara.
The project was retained by Google when Motorola was sold to Lenovo. Leading ATAP is Regina Dugan, the ex-director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Project Ara is basically made up of the base hardware, called Endo, and the plug-and-play modules. Hence, the term "modular phone." Google showcased the device in front of 200 people at the Computer History Museum.
"It's called the Gray Phone because it's meant to be drab gray to get people to customize it," said Paul Eremenko, the head of Project Ara.
Eremenko also announced the timeline for Project Ara. He said that the phone will be announced next year in January and that it will cost roughly $50. The team is also planning to showcase a pre-production prototype in September this year.
Google is now asking developers to create their own hardware or module.
ATAP deputy director Kaigham Gabriel said that Project Ara could benefit developing countries. People in villages, for example, can buy one basic Ara phone and a module for 4G wireless networks. Then they can share the phone with their neighbors.