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Google’s Project Ara is looking to hire supply chain experts ahead of a 2015 “market pilot”

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Google’s ambitious modular smartphone experiment, Project Ara, still seems like science fiction even though some developers and beta testers recently received prototypes. But the project looks like it’s on track to publicly offer units in 2015, and Google’s Advanced Technology and Products (ATAP) group is looking for a few experts to help with the rollout.

The job listings, which were tweeted out Tuesday on @projectara, are decidedly not entry level. Google’s looking for a head of project rollout who will take on a fair amount of daunting responsibilities: Navigating product regulations in countries across the world as well as with the FCC, coordinating marketing and branding, and establishing retail and fulfillment networks, which implies that Project Ara will be sold in stores, unlike Google Glass. [company]Google[/company] is primarily looking for an executive who has overseen a handset launch for an OEM in the past.

The other two listings are more technical. ATAP needs a head of developer relations and supply chain, because what’s the point of a modular smartphone if there aren’t interesting modules to plug into it? He or she will recruit developers to spend time and money developing modules for a platform that might never take off, which seems like a difficult enough job, but will also have the responsibility to oversee and manage the supply chain for Project Ara “prototypes.” It sounds like a very senior position. Google is also looking for a deputy chief engineer to manage an ATAP design team.

Project Ara has always had an aggressive timeline for its rollout, which is due to the DARPA-inspired methods employed by the ATAP program. Although its had its setbacks (the first working public prototype refused to boot up at Google I/O) there appears to be a reality distortion field propelling it to market. Many of the terms used in these listings — “prototype” and “market pilot” — imply that when Project Ara does go on sale, it will be in a limited fashion. Google’s not using the “January 2015” time frame anymore, but the team wouldn’t be looking for this kind of talent if it didn’t expect to be selling Project Ara devices to non-developers in the near future.

3 Responses to “Google’s Project Ara is looking to hire supply chain experts ahead of a 2015 “market pilot””

  1. WannaBe Noob

    Google if You are reading this, try this…

    1. stop focusing on how i can have a phone keep it self together. Make a specific requirement for cases. Slap the prototype together with your modules and then put the case on! (not some crappy plastic case keep in mind.)

  2. They should aim higher.
    Make one global online store , go for crowdsourcing for module ideas and even design. (while not ignoring traditional ways of creating the module ecosystem) and even enable DIY module creation with kits and 3D printing.
    Even if that would mean some delays, better to do it right than to rush it.
    Selling modules in physical stores is not practical (see how DIY PC parts migrated online with Newegg being the king , although it is true that Asia is a bit different) and creating excitement and getting the user involved with module creation is a big deal. They could even include crowdfunding for modules.
    And they should consider modular bracelets sooner rather than later, it’s easier and more beneficial than with phones.
    If they go the traditional way and launch it in the US first the thing is doomed. They need a broad launch and in markets where handset prices are not erased by carriers even if they might find that less comfortable.
    Looking at the DIY PC scene and trying to learn some lessons from it would be good and they can get those players involved easily since they are feeling the pressure of declining PC sales too and they should be eager to find new markets. Maybe the execs could come from one of those players.