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The latest news surrounding Google’s Project Ara devices is that Toshiba will reportedly be the company behind the processing. Right now we really don’t know a whole lot about Project Ara in regards to what types of hardware and specifications we should expect out of the phones when they become commercially available, but according to the Nikkei Asian Review Toshiba will be one of the initial companies to provide Google and the Ara team with processing units to put inside the phones. The report also states that Toshiba will be the preferred choice in the beginning, but approximately 12 months after the Ara devices have been sold and available to the public, that Toshiba will be the sole company to be manufacturing these CPUs for future Ara devices.
We’ve previously heard about Google’s hopes and plans to offer up the Project Ara device for as low as $50 in the emerging markets where they want to begin testing how well the devices do, but it has been unclear what all that $50 price tag would be getting the consumer. This report seems to support those earlier rumors or at least add to the allure of a low cost modular device by stating that the Ara devices will indeed be available starting at just $50. While if true a $50 modular smartphone seems like music to the ears of many, we have to remember that a smartphone with an inexpensive cost isn’t likely to have the best of the best specs and hardware, nor provide exemplary performance. What’s likely is that an Ara smartphone that cheap wouldn’t be marketed towards those that are looking for something powerful, but at those who are looking for something capable. That is if an Ara phone even enters the market at that low cost for a complete assembled unit, and if it were to make it to all the regions where they plan to launch the devices.
Whatever the starting costs may be, Project Ara smartphones have a goal in mind of being able to provide the consumer with choice and the ability to set their own price on the phone in a way, by choosing to build the device with the parts that they want, and allowing them to potentially forego higher end and more costly hardware for something less expensive. Google has stated that there will be three available sizes for the Ara base, including small, medium, and large. What size a consumer chooses will determine how much space they have for modules, with those numbers ranging from 5 probably on the smallest model to 10 on the biggest.