Google’s Project Ara is an effort to design a modular smartphone so that customers can buy just the skeleton of a phone and then attach the screen, battery, processor, and other components as they see fit.

The earliest prototypes have been powered by Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 processors. Now the Project Ara team has announced that it’s working with Chinese chip maker Rockchip on new processors that will be compatible with Project Ara phones.

project ara_01

The goal is to develop chips with a UniPro interface allowing the chip to be part of an Ara module, just like other components of a smartphone such as cameras or wireless cards.

The first prototype to support Rockchip’s upcoming system-on-a-chip is expected to be available in early 2015.

While we wait for that, the Project Ara team plans to start shipping first-generation hardware featuring Texas Instruments chips to developers in the next few weeks, and a new version of the group’s module developer kit should be available soon. Later this year there will be a second Project Ara developer conference.

If all goes according to plan, we could see commercial versions of Google’s new modular smartphone in the next year or two.

via SlashGear

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9 replies on “Google’s modular Project Ara smartphones to support Rockchip processors”

  1. And Rockchip have recently been in a joint-venture with Intel for developing a x86 MPU SoC.
    Something that will first be used in tablets but why not even in future Project Ara phones?

  2. I’m actually amazed this hasn’t happened already. Texas Instruments shut down their mobile processors division, so there is no longer any active support for developers using OMAP. That’s why Kitkat didn’t support the Galaxy Nexus.

  3. It’s going to be a pain to have the OS support all the different types of hardware.

  4. I couldn’t understand whether the Project Ara phones will be working only with this kind of processor, or whether it will allow any processor which will be made according to any standard/specification set by Project Ara Team.

    It is interesting to know that the processor is itself a module.

    And, initially people didn’t believe that module phone system will be
    useful, and even some people thought it is not possible at all. But it
    seems now people are expecting updates from Project Ara Team. And, more
    people are now expecting the release of the ara phone. We can understand
    this fact if we go through the comments made in this video

  5. Hard to say how Chinese Rockchip is now after the Intel deal.

    Anyway, curious if this Ara chip will be with ARM cores or Atom cores.

    1. The deal with Intel was mainly for distributing and helping to produce Intel’s more fully Integrated SoCs for emerging market products… But Rockchip still makes their own chips and since the original product is based on the TI OMAP then it only stands to reason they will continued with ARM based design…

      1. The deal with Intel is about…. hard to say wince we don’t actually have details. It most likely isn’t anything that people assume it is and it’s something a bit more evil than that.
        And the SoC is just a module ,there is nothing to suggest they won’t support x86, no reason to assume it’s ARM only.

        1. I disagree, module or not it still needs a specific way to work with the rest of the device and thus makes more sense it’s ARM because that’s what they’ve been working with so far with the TI OMAP…

          While the Intel deal wasn’t that vague and pretty specifically covered the Intel SoFIA SoC but that chip isn’t adequate for this project… And Intel SoCs still have components not yet integrated and would mean the need for additional chips… Thus they’re not likely to be part of this project…

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