On Wednesday, Phonebloks released a video that showed first prototype from Google Project Ara, a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. The team visited the development centre NK Labs in Boston, the above video shows how the project is working, and how will Ara actually look like.
The device is currently having five removable components: an LED module, a battery, the application processor, loud speakers, and a USB charge port.
“The challenge was how to fit everything in an efficient way, so that people could have the ability at home to add and remove modules and have a lot of flexibility about what modules they put in, but not to have too much added weight or too much added cost by doing that.” said Project Ara’s lead mechanical engineer Ara Knaian to TIME.
To power its Project Ara modular smartphone project, Google recently had made partnership with Chinese mobile-internet ’System on a Chip’ (SoC) solution provider, Rockchip. In May, it had partnered with Intel to accelerate its Intel architecture and communications-based solutions.
Project Ara was launched by Motorola last year to create a free, open and standardized platform to let people pick and choose the components they want in their phones, before the latter got acquired by Google.
The company has also announced the dates and locations of the second Project Ara Module Developers Conference in a Blog Post. The first event will be on January 14, 2015, with a central site in Mountain View and satellite locations at Google offices in New York City, Buenos Aires, and London. We will then repeat the same agenda for our developer friends in Asia a week later, on January 21, 2015. This second event will be in Singapore, with satellite locations at Google offices in Bangalore, Tokyo, Taipei, and Shanghai.
The developers are also expected to get the Module Developer’s Kit (MDK) to start creating modules for the Ara platform. Also, by next year, it plans to launch a basic model priced at USD 50 with wi-fi connectivity only (not cellular).
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