Even though Google is a long ways off from selling Project Ara phones directly to consumers, the company took a bit of time to detail its go-to-market strategy, which contained some details on the Puerto Rico pilot program. Perhaps most interesting was the look we got at how users might manage the many potential phone configurations that Project Ara makes possible.
The Ara Configurator, shown off running on a standard Android phone, is the way that users can build out and order phones, and it looked like a pretty nice bit of software at first glance. It's not entirely dissimilar to the concept of Moto Maker — it walks you through designing each aspect of the phone, from the stylized exterior "shells" to the all-important modules and "endo" frame of the device.
The app is built with Material Design and lets you pinch the screen to move between the three distinct layers of customization. For example, if you're looking at the back of your Project Ara phone and the customized colored modules, you can pinch to move a layer down — this reveals exactly which modules you have selected and lets you remove or add additional ones.
Swiping left and right lets you move through a summary of your phone — you start at the market, with all of its options open to you. From there, you can save particular modules you're interested in to your "stash." Then you actually build the phone itself; the final screen shows your creation, how much it costs, and some key specs like estimated battery life. You can place your order right there.
For those who are less inclined to build their own phone from scratch, Google will also offer pre-built options through its "simple phone maker"; there's also an option to customize your shells with your own photographs. We only got to see small bits of this whole process, but it's good to see Google already thinking about how it'll sell Project Ara — using the Moto Maker was certainly a fun processes, and it'll probably be even better to truly customize the guts of an Ara smartphone.