Project Ara keeps making a ton of progress. A finished prototype is expected to be ready by the end of this month. In case you were unaware, Project Ara is a device that uses modules to function properly. Simply input different modules for different purposes. The folks at The Verge were able to get an inside look at what Google and the Project Ara team have been up to. The end goal for Google to have a brand new industry in its hands.
One of the biggest problems that the Project Ara team has is that because the modules or components are located far from one another, it takes time for information to travel. That is why Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) department “is trying to push a communication standard called ‘UniPro’ into widespread adoption a year or two ahead of schedule.” This is a way for the team to work the storage and cellular aspect; however, RAM will need to be covered by the module containing the processor.
And just how will these modules be held in place? There are no clips or snapping. Just electropermanent magnets. Project Ara’s leader Paul Eremenko tells The Verge that ”It’s kind of a cross between a permanent magnet and an electromagnet, in that it has an on state and an off state.” The reason for not going with clips is because they can easily break and require frequent replacement. Project Ara will actually have an application to release the magnets’ hold.
Having a functioning prototype is not the end of the road for Project Ara’s development stage. The team has to garner interest from developers to create modules to use with Project Ara. Because not having anyone supporting it would create no true value for Google and consumers. In return, the module developers can have a connection with consumers. Eremenko told The Verge that there is a goal to “democratize the hardware ecosystem, break it wide open, basically disintermediate the OEMs.”