We want to provide a quick update on Project Ara development progress just before we head into the holidays. The first three demo units of the Spiral 2 form factor prototypes were delivered to us last week in Mountain View by our engineering and manufacturing teams at Quanta. This is the hardware that includes the first rev of the Toshiba UniPro switch and bridge ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). The firmware for the ASICs is lagging a bit, but we had first signs of life on the prototypes just last night, with the application processor (AP) module successfully connecting to the display over the UniPro network and through the switch. 

For the AP modules, we have been working with our friends at Marvell and NVIDIA to create two separate reference designs and form factor module prototypes around their PXA1928 and Tegra K1 processors, respectively, using a Toshiba UniPro bridge ASIC to connect to the on-device network. You can anticipate seeing these as part of the reference designs in our upcoming MDK v0.20 release. (The Rockchip AP with native UniPro that we blogged about previously is coming along nicely and will be ready in time for our Spiral 3 prototype in the Spring.)

And the Spiral 2 form factor prototypes look beautiful, custom module shells and all!! We can’t wait to show it to you at the Developers Conference in January! Speaking of which, if you haven’t registered and want to come, do it now! We still have a few spots left in some of the sites worldwide. You can fill out a short application form at http://www.projectara.com/ara-developers-conference/

And in just under two weeks, we are also expecting a New Year’s gift from our partners at Toshiba. Their second generation of UniPro switch and bridge ASICs with a contactless M-PHY data transfer capability (using inductive AC-coupling). These will be the basis of our Spiral 3 prototype and corresponding MDK release.

Exciting times ahead in 2015. Happy holidays Ara developers and fans!

--Paul Eremenko, Head of Project Ara, Google ATAP
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