The first of Google’s Project Ara modular smartphones are expected to go on sale later this year during a pilot project in Puerto Rico. Ahead of that limited launch, developers have been showing off designs for possible modules including speakers, displays, batteries, and cameras, among other things.

Now Toshiba has unveiled solutions for a range of different types of modules including displays, cameras, and wireless chips.

toshiba display module

The idea of a modular smartphone is that users will be able to swap out components as needed. Want to upgrade the processor? Just remove the old chip and slap in a new one. Need more storage? Just pop in a new module instead of replacing your entire phone.

Not only does this let you upgrade to newer hardware as it becomes available without buying a whole new phone… it also lets you swap out modules on an as-needed basis. For example you could replace an ordinary camera with an infrared model for situations where you might need it. Or if you don’t need to take pictures at all you can get more battery life by replacing the camera with a spare battery.

So the more modules, the merrier.

Toshiba’s latest examples include several different camera options including a 2.1MP front-facing camera and 8MP and 13MP rear cameras, a WiFi and Bluetooth module, and a display module.

toshiba transferjet module

There’s also a TransferJet Module that would enable support for high-speed, proximity-based data transfers. Pop a TransferJet-capable SD card in your camera, for instance, and this TransferJet module would allow you to quickly move photos or videos from your camera to your phone just by bringing the two devices near one another.

Another module enables activity-tracking features through a low-power ARM Cortex-M4F processor and sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer.

via AraPrototype and /r/Android

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6 replies on “Toshiba unveils TransferJet, display module designs for Project Ara modular smartphones”

  1. Hmm, would it possible to leave out the screen or replace it with a memory module and use the setup for a headless mini server (with ups functionality thanks to the battery)

  2. so Puerto Rico has 85% unemployment and most are starving and living in squalor,,is this a place to sell smart phones…

    1. They may be testing the tax regime changes… PR trying to become a tax haven within the US…. Maybe Google will open some offices there… if they could somehow convince the locals to actually work…. A NY minute lasts about 2 hrs down there….

      1. I’m sure both of your feelings have nothing to do with race,ethnocentrism and nationalism I could not detect a hint of that at all. As if either of you know anything about the economic or social reality of Puerto Rico.

    2. 85%… that’s not even close to the real thing down there. Yes there is unemployment but the mobile market in the island is outstanding, over 70% of the cellphone users have it as their primary communication line, making it the best choice company wise.

    3. correction, they have 15% unemployement. Also amoungst other reasons google stated that they have about a 50/50 split between smartphone users and featurephone users there as they are targeting both markets

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