It’s probably too premature to sound the alarm, but Project Ara might be further delayed than it already is. Although more positively and warmly welcomed thanGoogle Glass, Project Ara is also more ambitious and more experimental, which makes sudden shifts in plans not that surprising but still nerve-wracking.
Without much explanation, Project Ara is practically saying that it will no longer have its pilot launch in Puerto Rico, maybe not even this year anymore.
At the same time, the team reassures the public that it won’t be going the way of Google Glass.
Early this year, Google bravely announced where it will launch Project Ara first, in Puerto Rico “in 2015”. The choice of location seemed a perfect fit for a smartphone that was focused on accessibility and sustainability.
But with practically half of the year gone, the modular smartphone is still nowhere to be seen, at least not in retail. Now it seems we’ll have to wait even longer, maybe even all the way to 2016, with the Project Ara team announcing a “re-routing” of its pilot program away from Puerto Rico.
Project Ara isn’t going away though, the team assures on Twitter. There might have just been some changes in priorities, schedules, or plans, but the project isn’t being put on hold. The project is just re-routing the market pilot and promises to give more updates in the coming weeks.
Another plausible explanation for this sudden change of plans is Google’s own unexpected restructuring under the Alphabet holding entity.
This move has seen a reshuffling of executives, teams, and subsidiaries, some of which are now directly under Alphabet and some, like Niantic, are now on their own. At this point, it isn’t clear yet where Project Ara will fall under.
While it is essentially an Android smartphone, it is more formally a part of Google’s ATAP arm. For now, we’ll have to just take their word for it that all’s well in Project Ara land and wait for the promised updates.