Project Ara, the modular smartphone, is a concept way ahead of its time. By allowing us to switch out components built around a skeletal framework, Google wants to ensure we get the phone we want — every time. The team behind Ara have announced a few exciting pieces of news that could see us in a modular phone sooner than expected.
First, the team at Ara admitted they had a bit of a snafu with manufacturing. It seems the boards were coated with the wrong material, which is pushing back Developer programs. They’re promising a fix for that soon (like within the next two weeks), and say they’re pushing forward with a previously announced design challenge.
Ara is also partnering with Rockchip to make an all new SoC for their modular smartphone. It uses the UniPro interface, which means it can handle all the modules without the need for a secondary chip to bridge the gaps. Via Google+, the Ara team says “We view this Rockchip processor as a trailblazer for our vision of a modular architecture where the processor is a node on a network with a single, universal interface–free from also serving as the network hub for all of the mobile device’s peripherals.”
Project Ara will also have a second Developers conference later this year, suggesting they’ve got a lot to talk about. They’re also promising a new MDK, and new Developer hardware, ahead of that conference. A third iteration of Ara, which will feature the Rockchip processor, is due out in early 2015.