updated 05:58 am EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
Testing hardware for Project Ara modular smartphone shipping this month
Developers looking to get hold of components for Project Ara may start to receive hardware from Google in the near future. The company has opened itself up to requests for development boards for the modular smartphone, which will help hardware producers prototype and create modules before a commercial version of the device heads to market.
Interested developers have just a few days to send in their applications for hardware, with applicants required to explain what their project is to Google by the end of July 17th. Pocketnow notes the second round of applications will open up immediately after, and boards being sent to successful applicants will start shipping in late July.
It is also likely that the winner of Google's module development prize will be included in this first group. The search company is offering a $100,000 grand prize to the designer of the best Project Ara module, with second and third-place entries receiving guaranteed hardware for their next Ara project, and all-expenses-paid trips to the next Project Ara developer conference.
It was initially believed the smartphone will start shipping to consumers by early next year, with a basic entry-level model offering essential components for $50. According to an e-mail sent to Eduardo Ruiz, Google is planning to make a "new set of dev hardware" after the second developer's conference in November, suggesting the release may be pushed back later into 2015.