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Google launches first Project Ara Module Developers Kit

This is the first step in a march to launch the final MDK for Google's modular smartphone design by the end of 2014.

A look at Project Ara. Google

Google has taken one step closer to launching its Project Ara modular smartphone design.

The company on Wednesday announced that the first version of its Project Ara Module Developers Kit (MDK) is now available for free to developers. The MDK, 0.10, is "a very early version," Google says, but will still provide developers with some insight into the project and give them the opportunity to provide feedback based on what they've seen to this point.

Google's Project Ara was initially part of Motorola's product lineup when the search giant owned that company. However, after Google sold off Motorola to Lenovo, it required that Project Ara stay in Mountain View and not go with Lenovo.

Project Ara is ambitious if nothing else. The technology allows for consumers to pick and choose components that they'd plug into their smartphone. The idea is to provide a more customizable mobile experience to users, rather than one that's determined entirely by smartphone makers. The technology is still in its concept phase and is at least a ways off until it gets into consumer hands.

Google's first MDK release will be followed by many others. Google says that it will continue to launch MDKs until it can finally get to a final version at the end of 2014.

In addition to launching incremental MDK upgrades, Google next week will be hosting its first Project Ara Developers Conference. That event will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

CNET has contacted Google for comment on the report. We will update this story when we have more information.

Google shares are up .33 percent, or $1.86, to $566 in pre-market trading on Thursday.