Google's modular Project Ara phone delayed until 2016

The Puerto Rican pilot test has been canceled, and a revised launch won't happen this year

Project Ara

Trouble seemed to be brewing late last week for Google's Project Ara initiative, which seeks to release a smartphone with swappable parts throughout. Google said it was "recalculating its launch," and now we know a little more about what that means.

Sadly, the short-term news isn't great: Project Ara won't be launching in 2015, according to the official Twitter account. Why? "Lots of iterations... more than we thought," reads a tweet. In other words, the very experimental project isn't quite at the point where it's ready to sell to the average consumer.

Google originally said that it would perform a pilot test for Project Ara in Puerto Rico (as the trailer below promises), using roving food truck-style vehicles to introduce people to the Android-powered platform. However, that plan has been scrapped, and Google says it's "looking at a few locations in the U.S." to hold the test. The attached hashtag says "#newlocationcomingsoon," but it'll apparently be next year.

Ara was demonstrated onstage at I/O 2015 in May, which had fans of the project thinking a release was finally coming sooner than later - but it seems more time is needed to finish the first consumer platform.

The initial model is expected to have 20-30 different modules available, letting users pick the screen, processor, storage, camera, battery, speakers, and other perks that best suit their needs. Ara will also let owners have photos or other images printed onto parts, allowing for a distinctive look in addition to the custom build and ability to easily upgrade the phone's capabilities.

[Source: Twitter via The Verge]