Toshiba to develop Project Ara chips in partnership with India-based eInfochips
Toshiba has announced that it is to design and develop chips for Google’s modular smartphone Project Ara in partnership with Gujarat, India-based eInfochips. The two companies will jointly develop chips for the base module of the handset, the ‘endo’, as well as for swappable modules.
“Google is designing modular smartphones in which different modules can be assembled as one smartphone,” said senior vice president and chief technology officer of Toshiba USA, Shardul Kazi. “Toshiba will make chips which can be used in modules and in the base plate, and will give idea on what kind of modules can be developed.”
Google is expected to be launching the first Project Ara device that will be commercially available in Puerto Rico in the second half of this year as part of a limited trial run. eInfochips and Toshiba is said to be building chips for the third edition, Spiral 3 model, and a Starter Kit is also in the final stages of development in order to provide engineers and tech firms engaged in IT and hardware solutions assistance in module development.
“These kits will be useful for module developers to design and develop modules for Spiral-3. So far several companies have shown interest for the Starter Kit, which would cost around $40. With the help of this kit, engineers would be able to develop innovative modules for Spiral-3,” said Pratul Shroff, CEO and Founder, einfochips at a media briefing.
The Spiral 3 prototype is expected to be able to wirelessly transfer data between the modules and endoskeleton, and house a battery that could get the phone to last for at least a full day. The design of the endoskeleton is also going to be modified to allow it to be easily manufactured and a high-end camera and support for 4G LTE connectivity is also within Google’s vision of its new prototype.
According to Kazi, emerging markets such as India, China and Puerto Rico, among other will see higher needs for customisable smartphones. “Price will be fixed by Google. However, different modules will be ranging from $50 to $5000,” Kazi said, whilst stating that the cost can be cut to make it affordable for consumers.