Project Ara to launch $100k module contest to focus minds of developers

Google Project AraOn the second and final day of the Project Ara Developers Conference in Mountain View, California, Paul Eremenko, the guy leading Google’s ambitious initiative, unveiled plans for a $100,000 module contest to encourage developers to start designing parts for the build-your-own handset. The announcement came a week after the team released its first developer resources for the project.

The contest, which it’s hoped will incentivize talented developers into designing an array of useful modules for the revolutionary smartphone, will be officially unveiled next month. Other prizes include all-expenses paid trips to other Ara developer conferences to be held in the coming months. Entrants have until September to submit their module ideas.

To enter the contest, developers must first submit an outline of their module idea together with a hardware loan agreement so they can receive special tools to build their proposed part.

“Google wants a functional form factor module around this prototype hardware or the developer’s own prototype hardware,” Eremenko told the conference audience Wednesday, adding that entrants have to design not only the driver but also any necessary apps for their module.

The entries will be judged according to their uniqueness, as well as their novelty value, functionality, elegance, and overall quality. Potential for commercialization will also be taken into consideration.

The first Project Ara frame is projected to hits stores in January next year with a $50 price tag. Buyers can then build their handset according to their smartphone habits and needs, choosing from various modules, each one offering a different feature.

The idea for the highly customizable handset emerged last year from the Advanced Technology and Projects Group (ATAP), which used to be part of Motorola Mobility. Google held on to the group when it sold Motorola to Lenovo at the start of the year.

Digital Trends