Google selected Puerto Rico as part of pilot program
Jessica Beavers, a marketing executive at Google said the company will launch the modular smartphone in Puerto Rico as part of a pilot program. According to Beavers, the search engine giant will be selling the build-it-yourself smartphone in free standing stores or mobile shops through a partnership with wireless carriers, Claro and Open Mobile.
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Beavers explained that Google selected Puerto Rico because of the fact that 90 percent of the nearly 3.7 million population in the island use cellphones and 77% access the internet through mobile devices.
“All of this makes for a truly interesting carrier landscape. Mobile devices are a huge part of daily life” in Puerto Rico,” said Beavers during the Project Ara developers conference at Google’s headquarters.
According to Beavers, Google is still developing the pilot program for Project Ara. She is anticipating that the first store for the modular smartphone will be opened in San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico followed by Ponce, the second largest city.
Project Ara is full of choices
Paul Eremenko, the head of Project Ara emphasized during the developers conference that they have a “variety of unanswered questions” regarding the modular smartphone and the “only way to get answers in to get actual data
“Consumers actually crave choice, but when presented with choice, they seize up – and when they make a choice, they frequently have remorse about making the wrong one,” added Eremenko.
Furthermore, Eremenko emphasized that Project Ara is “full of choices” and they have a variety of hypothesis that needs testing in the field. According to him, they need to “carefully curate and manage the experience.”
Google will be selling the “endoskeleton,” the structural backbone or the base phone of the Project Ara and around 20 to 30 modules such as camera, display, processor battery, memory and others during the launching. The base phone will just cost $50.
Consumers will be able to customize their Project Ara modular smartphone using an app called Ara Configurator. The device will be powered by the Android mobile operating system.
Rafael Leon employee of RadioShack Corporation anticipates that many Puerto Ricans will embrace Project Ara. Leon noted that many people are always eager to have the latest smartphone and they don’t mind paying a high price. He said, “They always want to be ahead with what’s newest, with what’s innovative. You tell them it costs $800 and they’re not fazed.”