Fully Charged: Google’s modular phone opens up for testing, a rousing new Assassin’s Creed Unity trailer, and Messi takes the FIFA cover (again)

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Project Ara

Google taking requests for Project Ara test kits

The idea of a modular smartphone—with interchangeable and thus easily upgradable parts—is certainly intriguing, but has remained something of a far-off concept even as major players try to push it forward. That shouldn’t be true for much longer, at least, as Google has opened up requests for test kits and aims to ship them this month.

Granted, this kind of pre-release testing isn’t for the average consumer; it’s for developers prototyping prospective boards for Google’s Project Ara devices. The submission form states, “We will prioritize requests based on technical experience and the strength of your module concept.” It’s especially meant for anyone attempting to win the Project Ara Devleoper Prize Challenge, which will award US$100,000 for one particularly amazing (and fully working) module by 30 September.

Google is moving quick on this round of requests, with submissions expected by this Thursday, 17 July and the first kits due to ship before the end of the month. Another tester review period will begin immediately and last until 17 August, so if you’ve got a bright idea but need more than two days to get it all plotted out, well… you’ve got a month and two days then. Good luck.

[Source: Project Ara and Google Plus via Pocketnow and Engadget]

READ MORE: Google’s got a working Project Ara prototype

Get a fresh look at Assassin’s Creed Unity

We’ve long since settled into the notion of having a new Assassin’s Creed adventure to dig into each autumn, but this year’s entry looks like a rather large leap forward. Not only is Assassin’s Creed Unity the first of the open-world affairs to be exclusively designed for new-gen consoles (and PC), but it’s also the first to offer co-op play in the campaign.

While this trailer doesn’t put much focus on the cooperative play, it does offer an oft-dazzling glimpse at some of the new maneuvers you’ll have to get around the absolutely stunning rendition of Paris circa the French Revolution. Unity is out 28 October on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

[Source: YouTube]

READ MORE: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag review

Lionel Messi leads FIFA 15 cover art


Perhaps the timing here isn’t spectacular, considering the outcome of the World Cup final—to be fair, he did still win the Golden Ball—but Lionel Messi has been announced as the lone worldwide cover athlete for EA Sports’ FIFA 15, due out on 26 September.

Perhaps not a huge surprise, as he’s been on the last two years’ pack shots, but at least it’s a little more dynamic than the dull close-up seen on FIFA 14’s new-gen release. With another year under its belt on the latest console hardware, FIFA 15 promises big visual upgrades when it debuts in a couple short months.

[Source: EA Sports]

READ MORE: FIFA 15: First Play preview