Project Ara

Google’s Project Ara adds NVIDIA and Marvell chips

Google’s Project Ara adds NVIDIA and Marvell chips

Google's Project Ara modular smartphone may be yet to convince everyone that it solves a legitimate problem, but we now at least know it won't be lacking power, with Marvell and NVIDIA both cooking up processor modules for the phone. NVIDIA is creating a Project Ara application processor module from its Tegra K1 - the same potent chipset found inside the Nexus 9 tablet, for instance - according to Google project chief Paul Eremenko, while Marvell is doing the same with its PXA1928 quadcore. It's not the only sign of manufacturer support for Google's big scheme to make future Androids piecemeal, either.

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Project Ara Spiral 2 PCB teased, DevConf to be livestreamed

Project Ara Spiral 2 PCB teased, DevConf to be livestreamed

The second, bigger, and more ambitious Developer Conference is barely a month away and Project Ara believers, supporters, and maybe even naysayers are probably starting to get excited about it. To get that hype machine started, Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group or ATAP is teasing the crowd with the Spiral 2 board fresh off the press, so to speak. They are also sharing some good news for those who won't be able to physically attend the Conference in any of the 2 days and any of the 9 locations it will be held in.

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PuzzlePhone is a modular phone set for release in 2015

PuzzlePhone is a modular phone set for release in 2015

Google’s Project Ara is a really interesting concept; a smartphone that never really becomes obsolete. Working on that concept, a new contender has emerged in the form of Circular Devices, a Finnish company readying their own modular smartphone, the PuzzlePhone. Visually, it’s a bit more approachable than Google’s Ara, and a bit simpler overall. Rather than make each component swappable, PuzzlePhone has two major elements you can replace: the brain, and the heart. It’s a neat concept, and may end up the next step in modular smartphones.

 

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Sennheiser engineer shares Phonebloks audio module ideas

Sennheiser engineer shares Phonebloks audio module ideas

Most if not all of the modular smartphone spotlight has been taken up by Google's Project Ara, but they aren't the only ones working on that front. Though the relationship might be a bit unclear to onlookers, Phonebloks and Project Ara work together for a common goal, with the former having more of a community-driven voice. Phonebloks, not Project Ara, has partnered with Sennheiser to bring sound to the modular smartphone and now the two are sharing some of the interesting ideas and mockups they've come up with.

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Project Ara has blood oxygen sensor in the works

Project Ara has blood oxygen sensor in the works

Project Ara is cool, because the ability to alter your smartphone specs piece-by-piece is attractive. Though we’ve not quite thought about what Ara could be beyond a smartphone — partly because it barely starts up right now — the use-cases for the handheld are nearly endless. At Engadget’s Engage conference, Project Ara chief Paul Eremenko displayed a cool new feature for the device, which could take it well beyond your pocket and into the healthcare field. There’s now a module that will test your blood oxygen level, just by putting a finger on it.

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Vsenn takes on Project Ara with its own modular phone

Vsenn takes on Project Ara with its own modular phone

Google's Project Ara will soon have a competitor, with startup Vsenn announcing plans to create its own module-based handset. Vsenn is a Finnish company, and according to its website, it was co-founded by a former Nokia Android X program manager. The company has very little details about its plans and smartphone at this time, instead teasing with promises that its phone will offer "modular and upgradable hardware". Joining the modular design will be special attention paid to security, as well, with Vsenn saying "preserving...your privacy is our main priority."

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Watch this: Project Ara modular phone boots up

Watch this: Project Ara modular phone boots up

When we first heard about Project Ara (or Phonebloks, if you prefer) here at SlashGear, our eyes lit up. The idea that we could switch-up the spec sheet on our phone was — and is — beyond exciting. Making your phone much more personal via hardware is a brand new take on what smartphones should be, but it’s coming slowly. Luckily, Google has been great to share details of their project as it happens, and have released a new video showing another big step toward true customization.

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Google’s January Project Ara event will spill 2015 pilot details

Google’s January Project Ara event will spill 2015 pilot details

Google will hold its next Project Ara modular phone developer event in mid-January, the Google ATAP team has confirmed, teasing a major update to the software platform as well as details on how the swap-friendly gadget will launch commercially. Dubbed DevCon2, the second of the developer conferences will take place on January 14th, 2015, close to Google's home base in Mountain View, California, and be followed a week later by the identical agenda being replayed in Singapore. Top of the to-do list is running through Ara MDK 0.20.

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