Few things have been as exciting in the mobile tech world as the promise of a fully modular smartphone. Project Ara, which was first announced only a few short months ago by Google’s ATAP team, seemed like an unrealistic dream at the time. But over the past few months, that dream has slowly been solidifying into something increasingly concrete thanks to hardware partners and next week’s Project Ara Developer Conference.
Now, Google has released version 0.10 of the Project Ara Module Development Kit (MDK). And inside, Google sheds light on the Ara platform itself and gives examples of reference implementations of various hardware parts.
This first public release of the MDK starts off by providing details about Ara’s industrial design such as its front- and rear-side parceling schemes and hardware design language. The former consists of module sizes and placement, and the latter involves how to maintain a unified “smooth, flat, pebble” design. The MDK then continues by discussing module assembly, including module dimensions, required materials (module base must be a single piece of machined 6061 aluminum), prototype PCB layouts, electronic interface, and its locking electro-permanent magnets. Finally, Google talks about how it all ties together, using things like MIPI UniPro, as well as the software stack and Hardware Abstraction Layers (HALs) required for Ara to work.
Needless to say, the release of MDK goes to show just how close we are to seeing Ara come to fruition. This is a very exciting time to be a tech fan. To learn more about module creation, head over to the Project Ara MDK site and download the version 0.10 of the Ara MDK Then, be sure to head over to our Project Ara development forums and the comments section below to share your ideas on exciting module possibilities.
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