Google’s Project Ara is an effort to build a modular smartphone platform. The company has developed a hardware design that involves a smartphone skeleton which can use a series of modules for everything from the processor to the display.
If all goes according to plan, Google could begin shipping smartphone skeletons next year, and the company is hoping to attract developers to create modules for the platform.
Google has been showing off the concept for a while, but at the first Project Ara Developer Conference today, Google showed us what Ara phones might look like when they’re actually ready to ship.
The Project Ara form factor prototype features a mid-sized smartphone screen, a series of modules that fit into the back, and modules with a sort of red camouflage pattern.
Users can slide out any of the modules without any tools — so if you want to remove the WiFi module and insert a pulse oximeter, you can do that.
The prototype features an application module processor with a TI OMAP 4460 processor and a microSD card so you have something to hold the operating system and apps.
You can find more details about the Project Ara effort (and some better pictures) at The Verge.
OMAP? Why did they use OMAP? I thought TI was getting out of the consumer SoC market.
Because there’s a lot of documentation for the chip, which makes development easier.
The whole point is that eventually you should be able to choose an SoC to fit your needs… This initial module is aimed squarely at developers.
I hope that users will be able to use other operating systems in addition to Android. Not that I hate Android (I don’t), but I love options, so the option to have Ubuntu or Sailfish on this thing would be a valuable buying decision, especially if I can load one onto an internal SD card for boot, so that I could switch out.
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