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Google will discuss 'major changes and advances' for its modular smartphone in January

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Google plans to update developers on the state of its Project Ara modular smartphones at a series of conferences held early next year, where it'll discuss "major changes and advances" to the tools it provides for making swappable components for the phone. "We have been hard at work maturing and improving the Ara platform," Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group, which is developing Ara, writes in a blog post this morning. The ATAP group also plans to demo the latest Ara prototype at the conferences. Ara phones are composed of many removable pieces that users can change to improve the phone and add new features, but they remain in development.

Google still plans to have Ara on the market next year

The conferences will be held on January 14th in Mountain View with satellite sites in New York City, Buenos Aires, and London, and on January 21st in Singapore with satellite locations in Bangalore, Tokyo, Taipei, and Shanghai. The conferences are supposed to present identical content, but their broad reach suggests that Google really wants to get developers on board with Ara. Google hopes to have the first Ara devices on the market starting next year, and having components ready for Ara is a critical part in being prepared. In addition to detailing changes to Ara, Google plans to share its initial plans for releasing Ara phones.

It's an ambitious timeline considering that Ara was only unveiled a year ago. But Google's ATAP group has set a self-imposed timeline for completing the project that gives it less than a year left to get Ara out to consumers. Google held a first conference for developers last April, when it first detailed how Ara's swappable components can be built. There's no information yet on how much has changed since then, but given Ara's rapid pace of development, it's likely that there'll be some notable changes between last spring and the conferences this winter.