Google announces next Project Ara conference and shows a working modular prototype
We are getting even more exciting news from Google about its Project Ara modular phone after the company announced its plans to create a dedicated component store for the device earlier this week. The internet search giant’s ATAP group revealed the second Project Ara Module Developers Conference yesterday, which will be hosted in locations around the globe.
If you are still not in the loop with Project Ara, it is Googles ATAP’s bold idea to create a smartphone which will allow users to upgrade and replace individual hardware components without having to replace the entire phone. The project hopes to eventually result in giving users the freedom to create their perfect phone without having to spend money on features they may never use.
The event will be spread across two days, where the team will share the latest on the Ara platform and give attendees a chance to meet other developers in their region. The conferences which will be identical in content will first be held on 14 Jan 2015 with a central site in Mountain View and satellite locations at Google offices in New York City, Buenos Aires, and London, and repeated a week later on 21 Jan 2015 in Singapore, with satellite locations at Google offices in Bangalore, Tokyo, Taipei, and Shanghai.
The team promises to place Project Ara team members at all event sites, despite the speakers being stationed in Mountain View and Singapore. Those who wish to attend will have a deadline of 26 November to apply, and Google will notify successful applicants by no later than 2 December, where a $25-$200 registration fee will be due.
“We have been hard at work maturing and improving the Ara platform, and we will highlight the major changes and advances in the MDK,” Google said in a blog post. The principal focus will be the next major release of the Ara Module Developers Kit (MDK), and the latest Ara prototype and developer hardware will also be demoed at the events as well as early plans for a market pilot next year.
In addition to announcing the conference, Phonebloks, one of Google’s Project Ara partners, have also posted a video of a prototype Ara booting up at NK Labs, something that nearly happened during a demo at Google I/O. The current prototype dedicates around 50% of the available space to just making the modularity possible, but NK Labs’ engineers hints that the next major test unit (“Spiral 2”) will give module makers a lot more room for their projects thanks to a custom-built Toshiba chip which will free up “most” of the space on the device.