Assuming that everything goes according to plan, there is a good chance that Google could be set to release Project Ara in 2015. Now given that we still have a few more months until 2015, this means that there are probably still plenty of revisions Google could make to Project Ara ahead of its release. Well the good news is that it looks like one of those revisions includes an upgraded processor. In a recent Google+ post, Google announced that they expect to have a prototype unit of Project Ara in 2015 that will come with a new Rockchip CPU. Google’s choice to go with Rockchip has raised a few eyebrows, namely because Qualcomm seems to be the popular choice for smartphone SoCs.
Google’s Project Ara is an effort to design a modular smartphone so that customers can buy just the skeleton of a phone and then attach the screen, battery, processor, and other components as they see fit. The earliest prototypes have been powered by Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 processors. Now the Project Ara team has announced that it’s working with Chinese chip maker Rockchip on new processors that will be compatible with Project Ara phones. The goal is to develop chips with a UniPro interface allowing the chip to be part of an Ara module, just like other components of a smartphone such as cameras or wireless cards. The first prototype to support Rockchip’s upcoming system-on-a-chip is expected to be available in early 2015. While we wait for that, the Project Ara team plans to start shipping first-generation hardware featuring Texas Instruments chips to developers in the next few weeks, and a new version of the group’s module developer kit should be available soon. Later this year there will be a second Project Ara developer conference.
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