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?

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