Google plans to begin distributing the first of what will eventually become the building blocks of its modular smartphone platform, Project Ara.
Created at Google’s ATAP division, which is also responsible for the further-along Project Tango (of which we saw a demo at Google I/O), Project Ara promises to offer modular smartphones where people can buy individual magnetic modules that add specific functionality, such as an improved camera or larger battery.
Google confirmed that it has begun emailing developers and hardware startups interested in building modules for the platform using the MDK, or Module Developer Kit. According to an email sent to interested parties, the boards are “designed to help with prototyping and development of modules for the Ara platform.”
The developer hardware requests are being accepted until July 17th at 11:59pm PT, and the second round will be due a month later. Google also plans to debut a second, higher-functioning prototype of Project Ara’s hardware at the second annual developer conference in November.