Project Ara

Project Ara to Get Specialized CPU That’s Cheaper and Designed for its Modular Nature

August 25, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

Google’s Project Ara aims to be a game changer like we’ve never seen it when it hopefully makes its market debut somewhere around this time next year.  Until then though the team continues to build prototypes, test different ways of building the phone, and works on new hardware partnerships specifically for the modular nature of the device.  If you aren’t aware of Project Ara or haven’t been in the loop with news of the device for a while, check out our primer on the new ground breaking phone by Google.  But on the quick Project Ara is basically a phone where you purchase a base unit that doesn’t include a screen, processor, or any other part that makes a device useful, for really cheap.  You then buy individual components that snap onto the frame, sort of like building a Lego phone or something similar, but with much better results.  The end results is a completely custom phone that can have any individual component upgraded for very cheap, and not only that but it doesn’t require a genius to put it together either.

It’s this simplicity in configuration that Google is striving for, as the idea of a phone where you can build it yourself entirely would fall over completely if it required a PhD in computer science to put it together.  That’s why Google is partnering with Rockship to develop a processor that’s entirely self-sufficient and doesn’t need other components to make it work, the true hallmark of a piece of a modular device.  This allows the processor to be hot swapable, or to be removed without having to change any of the configuration on the phone’s operating system.  Rockchip is doing this by creating a processor without the need for a bridge communication chip, effectively just making this another node on the phone that doesn’t need the other nodes to function by itself.

The team is still shooting for an early 2015 release of its prototype builds, of which it just recently named 100 beta testers to take part in the program.  While there was a delay in the second phase of testing recently due to a manufacturing flaw, the team is still hopefull that it can meet its schedule, and deliver quite possibly the biggest game changer the mobile industry has ever seen.