The selection of Puerto Rica was announced near the Mountain View, California headquarters of Google at the 2nd Project Ara Developers Conference and streamed lived on Internet.
The goal was to create a new smartphone that could be disassembled to repair or replace parts independently, which would avoid a need to replace an entire device.
Google is hoping to offer a smartphone that has a modular screen, keyboard, microprocessor, and battery that can be interchanged and may be replaced or added at the convenience of the user.
The testing period on Caribbean island will give the Internet search company the opportunity to gauge the possible demand for the product, obtain feedback on pricing and find out the telephone companies interested the project.
Puerto Rico makes an attractive testing ground due to 50% of the island’s population having smartphones, said Google officials.
In addition, over 75% of the users of Internet on Puerto Rico access the Internet via their mobile devices.
Giancarlo Gonzalez, the head of information technology in the government of Puerto Rico said that the decision by Google to test the telephone would encourage other tech companies to consider Puerto Rico as an R&D location in the future, as well as a possible location for manufacturing of the handsets.
The small size of Puerto Rico and the presence of different telecommunications companies serving countries in Latin America were factors in the decision by Google to test the phone there.
Puerto Rico also operates under regulations by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which played a role in deciding to test the modular phone on the island.