I’ve always hated buying a new smartphone because it occurs to me that I’m having to replace an expensive gadget just because one or two components have become outdated or broken. I’ve always been more of PC guy because I can replace components individually whenever I need to, which is why I’ve been so excited about Project Ara. Unfortunately, it looks like Google’s modular smartphone initiative won’t be happening anytime soon as the company has confirmed that testing of Project Ara has been delayed until next year.
Google confirmed on Monday that it is delaying until 2016 the first test of Project Ara, its take on a modular smartphone made up of components that connect in Lego-like fashion. Google had been planning a test launch for later this year in Puerto Rico. In a follow-up tweet, Google said it is looking for a new U.S. location to test the devices. The idea behind Ara is that key components of the phone, such as its memory, camera and processor, would be made as interconnectable pieces, allowing customers to upgrade piecemeal to improve their devices. As for the delay, Google said getting the first devices ready was taking “lots of iterations … more than we thought.” Ara also flies in the face of the way the electronics industry has been heading: Toward appliance-like devices that are replaced every couple of years. PCs, for example, once contained expansion bays and ports that made it easy to add a bigger hard drive or more memory. Over time, though, the trend shifted toward sleeker and less upgradeable models, especially laptops and all-in-ones that combine a monitor and PC.