Google to ship Dev Kits of Project Ara soon

Modular Phones are now one step closer

Google to ship Dev Kits of Project Ara soon  

When the "Phonebloks" concept was announced in September of last year it was met with equal praise and ridicule, with many praising the concept for trying to address the throwaway nature of the design of the many mobile phones on the market today and others claiming that such a device could be created affordably or in a reasonable size/form factor.

In essence the concept is simple, create a mobile phone which can have its parts easily replaced or upgraded when the user desires, so that merely a single component is thrown away instead of an entire phone and that users will be able to in theory create a phone that meets their own specifications. A video describing the concept more fully has been added below.

 

Google had taken the Phonebloks concept and created Project Ara, the world first modular phone, and will soon be releasing devkits to people and companies interested in creating modules for this phone. With a consumer version of the product expected to be coming sometime in 2015 for a the price of around $50.

 Google to ship Dev Kits of Project Ara soon  Google to ship Dev Kits of Project Ara soon  

Those interested in receiving one of the first wave of these devices will have to apply to Google for the privilege by June 17th, with a concept for a module and any relevant experience the developer has to this project. The second round of applications will then finish one month later on the 17th of August, so if you are interested in applying you better get started on a concept. You can apply for a developer kit here.

Google to ship Dev Kits of Project Ara soon  Google to ship Dev Kits of Project Ara soon  Google to ship Dev Kits of Project Ara soon  Google to ship Dev Kits of Project Ara soon  

 

The Specifications of the developer kit will differ depending on which of the 3 available dev boards you get, and of course the revision of the devboard the user gets, as it is expected to change over time. So far this is what we know.

 

"We’ve created developer hardware based on the v0.10 MDK to help with prototyping and development of modules for the Ara platform. There are three dev boards: an application processor (AP) board with a strawman TI OMAP 4460 AP and modified Linaro Android; a UniPro switch board representative of the network switching functionality of the Ara endoskeleton; and a general purpose endpoint board for developer-unique functionality that supports the tunneling of legacy DSI, I2C, I2S, SDIO, and GPIO protocols over UniPro. Since we only have limited quantities of developer hardware, we ask that you please tell us about how you plan to use it! We anticipate having a second release of developer hardware around the v0.20 MDK (and ASICs instead of FPGAs for UniPro network processing, as well as multiple APs) in Fall 2014."

 

It will be interesting to see this products design mature an it approaches release, I for one look forward to having as much flexibility in part selection in my mobile phone as is currently on offer to desktop PCs and being able to easily replace aging or broken parts of my phone with shiny new ones, without having to but an entire new handset.

If you wish to discuss Project Ara further, please head over to the OC3D Forums.

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