GOOGLE Gives Way To the Very First Modular Smartphone!!!
At I/O 2014, Google has now publicly turned on its modular Project Ara smartphone for the first time. Back in October last year it was just some nice concept art, its incredible how Googles Advanced Technology & Projects (ATAP) group have now successfully produced a working prototype of the device. If all goes accordingly with google we could see the modular smart phone era hitting our stores within sometime in 2015, with a starting price of $50. This would give you the exoskeleton to put the modules into. At the ATAP Tech Session in I/O 2014, Project Ara Paul Eremenko gave a few technical details about how to actually build a modular phone. The new module phone prototype called “Spiral 1”, which looks like any normal handset from the front, however the real innovation happens at the back of the device! However the only glitch here was the power switch was a jumper cable that needed to be shorted.
However during the conference Project Ara’s bumps ahead where also discussed, Eremenko had this to say: “The principle challenge to modularity is overhead. What we found was that Moore’s law, the miniaturization of electromechanical components, and a modern data protocol, could get the modularity penalty at a system level down to around 25% across the board; PCB area, device weight, and overall power consumption.” Eremenko precisely talked about the electropermanent magnets that will keep the modules in place, and the socket connectors saying : “They have to be small and thin, but still effective at carrying different signal frequencies” Alongside this battery technology was also discussed, with Eremenko noting to the audience that: “There are now electrochemical batteries that have three times the current consumer lithium electrochemical battery (LIB) energy density. The drawback to this technology is their lifecycle being considerably shorter, less than 300+ charges. To attempt to deal with this issue the modular phone allows the user to switch these batteries around at leisure. With the batteries also being easily recyclable too! The current prototype of Spiral 1 utilises FPGA’s to implement the industry standard UniPro MIPI packet-switched network protocol to providing an interconnection between the modules upon the system. Here the antenna modules use the metal endoskeleton (phone chassis) to boost reception. Android OS will power the Ara smartphone, which will be eventually updated to support hotplugging of third-party modules for future business to take advantage of this technology. Eremenko also adding “Think of Ara as an analog of the Android app ecosystem, but in hardware.”
To kick-start development of these third-party modules, Google has also announced competition to design and integrate a novel module, with the winner walking away with a grand prize of $100,000! To watch the video follow the link at the bottom of the page. Watch the phone being powered on skip to 26.10 + manual jumper method at 27.39. The device crashes and fails to reach the android desktop, however it’s a massive step in the modular device business and technological area!!