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Google Announces a New Processor For Project Ara 36

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 TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:15AM (#47736443)

      google is only serious about ad revenue. all else are 'toys' to their management and the management and their employees have the shortest attention span of any large company I've ever known. they EOL things in such a short time, the trust level is now zero, with them.

      hardware? google? they can't even keep software (that used to be flagship grade) working with patches and updates. they just plain lose interest and move on to other things.

      at this point, google is a lot of talk but they can't be trusted to support things long-term and that, to me, kills any interest in tech things they show us.

    • It's nice to see Google kind of pushing the envelope on this

      If any of you RTFA, then you could tell that Google isn't (really) pushing the envelope on this. It's a budget application processor. Nothing new here. Move along.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      the reason why it hadn't done on the scale before was that everything was -and is still- going to more integrated chip solution. it's cheaper and wiser to have the network stuff on the same piece of faber, to have the gpu on the same piece...display driver too preferably(there's really no point in cost design wise or power use wise to convert the data to some hdmi like format and convert it back to rgb 5 millimeters away).

      the idea- of blockphone or whatever- has been floating around for as long as smartphon

  • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:00AM (#47736389) Homepage

    I've heard and read a lot of people say how this will let them keep their phone a longer time but to me that doesn't seem likely. Too many things need to be replaced as the phone ages. Seems to me much better suited to customization of the original purchase, much like build options on a car.

    • 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.
      • by fred911 ( 83970 )

        "I don't think this is going to be a popular platform with the carriers"

        Isn't it time for the POTS (and it's younger brother cellular) system to die? Stateside termination is more fragmented than Android. One of the largest stateside carries uses termination that's not compatible with the rest of the world, designed to control income and users, not to provide quality services to it's clients. Available termination devices are designed to increase income for providers, not to provide the cutting edg

        • Isn't it time for the POTS (and it's younger brother cellular) system to die?

          No. Ask anyone who was in Sandy. Those with POTS had phone service. Those who were IP based (however sophisticated) did not. For days and in some cases, weeks.

          • by fred911 ( 83970 )

            Those communication lines weren't twisted pair to twisted pair. Termination, possibly. Guaranteed, those lines weren't passed over analogue copper. your response while valid, is equal to the FCC license requiring the ability to copy morse code without the requirement to have any knowledge of how analogue to digital conversion is accomplished, nor oscillated.

            The fact that IP based communication failed during the aforementioned emergency was only due to the carriers terminations services. It's a give

            • The POTS were live and the IP down because POTS are powered by the local exchange while IP bases equivalents are unpowered except in the customer's home.

              While it is true that some areas with POTS still failed (Battery Park), most were ok.

              Telco response to this is they are considering incrasing the size of the standard backup battery to an amount that still does not even cover one day of outtage. But why should they care when they have for all intents become cable companies?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, the *useful* hardware improvements of todays smartphones are slowing down, as the PC did a few years back. So the length of time you can keep your phone hardware and not be obsolete increases. This Ara project seems a good way to buy something fancy today and spring for that solid-state battery that will come out in 18 months, or improve your camera with this shiny new micro lens optical zoom technology when it will be available, but keep expenses low. Plus, if you have a resale value on any component

  • Sounds like the start of making each phone module into a nano-computer. Each nano-computer controls only its own module, running a nano-OS. The nano-OS would only need two things: a way to plug in a driver for the particular hardware of the module, and a communications program so all the modules can be coordinated. One particular module would have, as its "driver", the coordination program, producing the overall result with which the end-user interacts.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Google should improve android itself instead of this kind of stupid things ! I know project Ara is good idea . But android itself far behind of being something serious .
    • You realize Google employs hundreds of thousands of people right? The Android teams and the Ara teams have nothing to do with one another. Just because Ara team gets resource X does not mean that Android team is losing resource X, that is not how corporate budgets work.

  • This project is interesting but its not flexible enough.

  • TFA is a F:n video!

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith