updated 09:51 am EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Developers could win cash prize for creating best Project Ara smartphone module
Google is aiming to launch the first Project Ara smartphone in January next year, the company revealed at the project's first developer conference earlier this week. Google is also attempting to encourage developers to produce sections of the modular smartphone, by offering a $100,000 prize in a competition for designing the best Ara module.
The first public sale will occur in January of 2015, but developers will be able to receive hardware well before that time, reports 9to5 Google. Customers will be able to use a Moto Maker-style website to configure their device, selecting individual components and customizing the design and colors of modules. It is unknown if the smartphone will be sold at the target $50 price, but considering the relatively-new technologies being used, it will most likely cost more.
The developers competition will officially start in May, with approximately 100 to 200 prototype hardware units being loaned to developers, writes Phandroid. Developers will need to sign a hardware loan agreement and submit module descriptions to the project to receive the hardware, which will include a Unipro bridge and gate arrays from Toshiba. Following the MDK's guidelines, developers will need to create their module, as well as drivers and testing apps, before the contest closes in mid-September.
The winner will receive the $100,000 grand prize, based on the potential of the module, with second and third-place entries receiving all-expenses-paid trips to the next Project Ara developer conference, and guaranteed hardware for their next Ara project.