Much like the Google Play Store, which also sells Android devices besides millions of apps, the Project Ara component store will offer people plenty of options when building a modular smartphone.
Since Google did not launch separate websites for its Android devices, you might wonder what could determine the company to create a dedicated component store for Project Ara. The Play Store already offers a great experience when it comes to buying Nexus smartphones and tablets, but it doesn’t include a review system. On top of that, the Project Ara component store will feature recommendations on how to mix and match various smartphone modules in order to get the best performance for specific tasks.
Team leader Paul Eremenko explained in an interview at a Purdue University event that the Project Ara component store will resemble the Google Play Store, not just in the design, but also in the overall shopping experience.”By following the Android model, we are creating a free and open platform… The Ara MDK (Module Developers Kit) is free and open and available to everybody, so everybody could create a module per the specifications of the developer’s kit and put it in the Ara module marketplace, which is analogous to the Google Play store, and sell directly to consumers.”
The idea of basing the component store on an already successful recipe is not bad at all. If it’s not broken, why not use it again? There are still a few questions to be answered by Google, such as the approximate number of modules will be available in the component store at the time of the launch. Also, the world has yet to find out who Google’s partners are in terms of smartphone module manufacturing. Is it the usual suspects all over again? Surely Samsung, LG, Motorola, Asus and HTC have plenty of experience in making Nexus devices, but I wouldn’t mind seeing some new players besides them.
In the interview, which is available above in its entirety, Eremenko didn’t say anything about the current status of Project Ara, so we don’t know when the modular smartphone will become a reality. Considering that Google has only organized one of the three Ara Developers’ Conferences announced for this year, we might be in for a surprise this holiday season.
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