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Google Announces a New Processor For Project Ara 36

Posted by timothy
from the starting-from-not-quite-scratch dept.
rtoz writes Google has just announced a new processor for Project Ara. The mobile Rockchip SoC will function as an applications processor, without requiring a bridge chip. A prototype of the phone with the Rockchip CPU, will be available early next year. Via Google+ post, Project Ara team Head Paul Eremenko 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 is Google's effort to create an extensible, modular cellphone; last month we mentioned a custom version of Linux being developed for the project, too.)
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Google Announces a New Processor For Project Ara

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  • by swb (14022) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @10:30AM (#47736267)

    I think the Ara concept is pretty interesting, even if it doesn't seem too practical relative to today's integrated handsets in terms of size.

    It's nice to see Google kind of pushing the envelope on this, it sounds like it could (finally) lead to the kind of modularity that more seamlessly and easily bridges handhelds, laptops and desktops with a single device.

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:33AM (#47736531)
    I think it might help. There are a lot of people who end up with a broken screen, the battery going bad, or some other single-component issue that invariably end up getting a new phone simply because they can get a new phone with a contract extension. Being able to easily replace any of those single components easily, and I mean easily for the kind of people who are afraid to use a screwdriver and follow a simple guide online, is a big deal. Even when something doesn't break, a lot of times over half of the components in the phone are still perfectly fine for a user. Perhaps they're satisfied with the screen and CPU, but want a better camera and more storage.

    I don't think this is going to be a popular platform with the carriers, simply because it does allow the option of continual incremental upgrades based on what the user needs rather than buying a subsidized device attached to an expensive contract.

    It also evokes the idea of the ship of Theseus [wikipedia.org]. If it takes 5 years for a person to replace every module or component of their phone that they originally started with at what point did they get a a new phone? If the cost of doing that is less than the typical 24-month subsidized upgrade cycle that the major carriers offer, I can see this finding at least a market niche where it will thrive.

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