Project Ara modules will be sold through Play Store-like online marketplace

by: Bogdan PetrovanOctober 23, 2014

Project Ara crop

Project Ara, Google’s futuristic modular smartphone, is edging towards its pilot release, in early 2015. Talking at a Purdue University event, the head of the project explained how Google plans to sell the modules making up Ara phones.

Paul Eremenko, Ara project leader and member of Google’s ATAP skunkworks division, explained in a Q&A session that the Ara module store would be “analogous to the Google Play Store,” in that customers will get to sort through modules based on user ratings and reviews.

“Anybody can create a module per the specifications of the developer’s kit and put it in the Ara module marketplace, which is analogous to the Google Play Store, and sell directly to consumers,” the exec said.

Google has already given developers tools to create Ara modules, but it’s also going to offer some of its own modules. Eremenko hinted at biometric modules that can detect the user’s mental state and send feedback over to an e-commerce system.

A camera Ara module

A camera module for Project Ara

“That includes galvanic skin response, sweat levels, your pupil dilation, gaze direction, and a variety of things that we can pick up non-invasively about you as you’re interacting with the e-commerce system. If you’re stressed or impatient or bored with the experience, we could present a differently curated experience,” Eremenko said.

A module could tell that you’re stressed and change the music that’s playing through Play Music, for instance.

Google hopes that modules will be available in a variety of price ranges, from “feature phone crossover” to “aspirational”.

The ultimate goal, said Eremenko, is to help Google’s grand vision to bring the internet to the five billion people that are now offline.

Check out the full Q&A session on Project Ara with Paul Eremenko or read our full coverage on our tag page.

Are you excited for Project Ara? Do you believe it’s a viable idea?

  • Dah3098

    1st Comment

  • YeOldeRam

    and you thought the iphone 6 camera popped out…

    • you can see another camera module on the first picture, i’m guessing the second picture is showing the higher spec camera with ois for example and who knows optical zoom

      • Amrit Zoad

        Yes, like you. :)

  • Vinay Mallik

    The Next Big Step.

  • neoand12

    I’m excited for this. Most people are upset that there are too many bigger screen phones on the market. This gives those people the specs and screen size they want. Though I personally will be getting the bigger of the device. Everyone who enjoy android can now make the perfect phone for them

  • crutchcorn

    This is great news for Ara. All the stuff needs to stay in one centralized place

  • Fingers crossed for decent specs!

    • Ice Creams

      Dude…you can get customizable specs…Just get the best stuff!

  • Eric

    If i bend the phone will it detect I’m stressed? Will there be a scent sensor so if it smells urine or crap then I’m scared. The applications are endless…

  • interstellarmind

    Wow, this’ll be awesome.

  • MJay


  • Sondrek17

    But can anyone buy it, or did I miss something?


    I think this will be a complete crash and burn.

  • Dah3098

    The one problem that I see with this is that (if I am understanding correctly) if you want to get say, a big battery that will last you a few days, that will take up a lot of space. This will leave you with little space for other things like cameras and biometrics. Plus, only tech savy people will get this (or even know what it is).

    • David Gabel

      ” only tech savy people will get this (or even know what it is).”

      Depends how they market it. Google seems more into marketing software and services than hardware, but for this to actually work, they would need to bring more awareness to it in order to make it successful.

      • AbbyZFresh

        They hardly market software much either. The tech sites do the work for them.

        But the only way for this to gain mass attention is though high-profile media that everyone watches.

      • Dah3098

        I just (sadly) haven’t seen Google market their hardware very well compared to Samsung or Apple. If Google can somehow get this some prime time attention I could see it going somewhere, but I haven’t seen that done with Nexus devices or any hardware that they make yet.

        • David Gabel

          I was watching the Android L vs iOS8 hangout last night on Google+ where that was brought up in the discussion. Google is more about their services and making money from them vs hardware. They aren’t trying to compete with anyone. Rather they want to be ubiquitous via their services. They are however, finally advertising more for their Android OS and that is very welcome (to me anyway). If their OS can get better exposure, then the handsets powered by it will do better as far as sales.

    • Heath James Cadriel

      This requires tech savvy of stacking Lego and loose understanding of specs.

      • Dah3098

        I am not saying that you need to be tech savvy to use Ara, I am just saying that I cant imagine anyone who isn’t tech savvy spending the time and money to go this route. I can just imagine many many people being overwhelmed that they have to build their own phone instead of just buying one and turning it on. If this is anywhere near good I am probably gonna get it, but it won’t sell unless it is easy to build/use and Google markets it well.

        • Meatloafers

          I think this phone will cost $800+, but in long time, and there’s new hardware for this product, you don’t need to buy the whole phone again which is cheaper than buying every line every year. Many OEM upgrades their processor and ram only on their next line which is you need to buy new phone to get just 2 upgrades. In ARA, you’ll just need to buy those 2 upgrades and not the whole phone which is cheaper. And I think it is just plug and play, it wont be that hard to replace parts.

          • stinky bear

            If what they said was true, the price for a vvery basic functional Ara phone will cost about $50. But the final price of each phone will really be depending on what kind of phone each individual wants. Of course you can get the best parts and make an $800 phone, or you can just stick with the basic version. I really like this idea of modular phone. Can’t wait to get my hands on one of these.

  • Abbas Mustafa Bhaiji

    It should be called

  • TheDiamondGames

    That’s epic! If it’s screen going to be durable enough I will get it. Seems a perfect solution when you need an upgrade often. Just upgrade CPU,GPU and you don’t need to pay for a new phone, perfect

  • crutchcorn

    This is fantastic news. In order to sucseed, Ara needs to be able to be bought in one unified place so that the market doesn’t become easily lost in and oversaturated

  • Connor Bent

    Gonna get the biggest chassis possible, and trick it out to the ma . How expensive is it supposed to be?

    • Ploppaloppadingdong

      Biggest endoskeleton frame is slated to start around $249, then exceptional and limited production “experimental” (like advanced biometrics, super high-spec wifi etc) could be $100-$359 per module.

  • Ploppaloppadingdong

    but theres no screen lol dats gay

    • nailuj seivad

      are you blind? first picture left corner.

  • nick

    i wonder how it will be with the app’s, because a lot of diffrent kind of phones right? or am i wrong?