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Google Suspends Phone Initiative Begun in Puerto Rico

By on September 2, 2016

/Photo Credit: Mark Serr (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)/

(Mark Serr/GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

SAN JUAN — Google has suspended Project Ara, a modular phone initiative that the tech giant originally planned to launch in Puerto Rico, Reuters reported Friday.

The project, which sought to build a mobile phone with interchangeable components and a customizable layout, was intended to launch in Puerto Rico in early 2015 as part of a broader push into the Latin American market.

Puerto Rico would have been the first market in which the device would have been available, with plans calling for phones being sold out of customized trucks. Part of the device’s development team had even established a temporary office on the island for this purpose.

Later that year, the company decided to pull the project out of the island, but at the Google I/O Conference in May, Google representatives had said the project was still en route to have a developer edition of the product out this autumn and a consumer version of the device available by 2017.

The phone, which sports tile-like components that make it simple to install a new camera, battery and other features, also intended to reduce electronic waste and allow for longer-lasting, easily updatable smartphones.

Although there is speculation that Google may license the technology to a third party for public availability, industry analysts have said that the electronic tiles are too expensive to manufacture, which makes such a prospect unlikely.

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