Want to get your hands on Google's Project Ara boards? Get your application in now

Google's modular phone is moving closer to a reality with the first developer boards shipping by the end of this month.

Those keen on taking part in Google's modular hardware phone mission Project Ara can now apply to get their hands on its developer boards.

Anyone with good ideas and the knowhow to turn them into a useful Ara module better get a move on if they want one of Google's new boards. Applications can be submitted here, and the first review of requests is scheduled to take place on 17 July. Google plans to ship the first batch of boards by the end of July.

Motorola announced Project Ara late last year , and it was one of the few elements of the company that Google kept after agreeing earlier this year to sell it to Lenovo for around $3bn .

The ambitious project aims to spawn an Android-like ecosystem for hardware by offering boards that others can build their own gadgets for, sliding them into place on the back of the device. It's a particularly well-timed effort given the growing interest in small hardware needed to build the Internet of Things.  

Google released the Ara Module Developers Kit (MDK) ahead of its annual I/O developer conference, where it showed off the 'Spiral One' Ara prototype booting up Android and announced the Ara Developer Prize Challenge, which offers $100,000 prize for the best new Ara module.

The Ara developer program is open to companies, academics, hobbyists and others and applications are limited to one per organisation. And the program is definitely not open to fans of the technology. Google say it will prioritise requests based on "technical experience" and the "strength" of the applicant's concept.

According to the Project Ara website, the hardware consists of three dev boards including an application processor, a switch board "representative of the network switching functionality of the Ara endoskeleton", and a general purpose endpoint.

The company will run a second application review process on 18 July which will end on 17 August. It also expects to have a new set of hardware ready by November that will be based on its second MDK.

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