When Google sold Motorola to Lenovo for US$2.91 billion, it kept both the patents it had originally acquired by buying Motorola as well as the Advanced Technology and Projects group led by Regina Dugan. Among the initiatives that fall under ATAP is Project Ara, the modular concept that Motorola first unveiled back in late October. Today, Google announced that it will hold its first Project Ara Developer Conference on April 15 and 16, 2014.
The event will be held online with a live webstream and interactive Q&A capability with a limited number of participants being able to attend in person. The event will focus on the alpha release of the Ara Module Developers’ Kit (MDK) which is now expected to launch in early April. Aimed primarily at developers, it will offer a first look at what is needed to develop an Ara module.
This first version of the MDK relies on a prototype implementation of the Ara on-device network using the MIPI UniPro protocol implemented on FPGA and running over an LVDS physical layer. Subsequent versions will soon be built around a much more efficient and higher performance ASIC implementation of UniPro, running over a capacitive M-PHY physical layer.
Google is also planning to hold two more Ara conferences later this year.
As to where things stand today, Phonebloks, the group working alongside Project Ara, today released the following video update:
Despite getting out of the smartphone hardware business with the sale of Motorola, it does look like Google is still serious about modular smartphones.