Curious to know what the latest is with Project Ara? In early July, we kicked off our second design spiral, built around UniPro network ASICs (instead of FPGAs, as in Spiral 1). Toshiba successfully taped out the first rev of a UniPro network switch and bridges last week. Also last week we had a major design review with a dozen of our partners working on the project. Check out the group photo below of the Ara engineering leads at the headquarters of our design and manufacturing partner, Quanta, in Taipei.
As Spiral 2 advances, you can expect to see a major new MDK release and new developer hardware, followed by our second Developers Conference later this year.
Speaking of developer hardware, many of you have been wondering what’s going on with the Spiral 1 developer hardware and the prize challenge we announced at Google I/O. Unfortunately the boards encountered a manufacturing flaw--they were plated with the incorrect material--causing several weeks of delay. We anticipate being able to start shipping the reworked hardware within the next two weeks. We will adjust prize challenge timelines accordingly as we determine the ship date. Watch the prize challenge page and our Twitter for updates. We are sorry for the wait.
In other Ara news, we just kicked off an effort with Rockchip (http://www.rock-chips.com/a/en/index.html
) to create a mobile SoC with a native, general-purpose UniPro interface, so that it can function as an application processor in an Ara module without the need for a bridge chip. 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. We expect to be able to demo the Rockchip UniPro processor in our third design spiral, with a prototype anticipated in early 2015.
-Paul Eremenko, Head of Project Ara, Google ATAP