Toshiba to supply processors for Project Ara smartphones

Motorola Project AraDetails continue to fall into place for the launch of the first Project Ara modular smartphones early next year. The first Project Ara Developer Conference took place in April and those interested in building modules for the project are now poring over the Project Ara MDK. We are now starting to hear more about those manufacturers. According to Nikkei, Toshiba is onboard and will provide three types of processors for the phone itself and accompanying modules. No information is provided about the chipsets themselves.

Toshiba expects to be in a position to have the first chipset samples shipping this fall with mass production set to follow in early 2015. With the first devices expected to launch in January 2015, it appears that Toshiba may have to accelerate its timelines though unless other chipset manufacturers are also involved.

Toshiba has been working with Google since October and it has already been approved as a preferred supplier. The report adds that it could become the “sole chipmaker for the phone about a year after its rollout.” It’s not clear why Google would choose to move in such a direction. It certainly appears to go against the promise of Project Ara and its ability to support modules from a variety of hardware partners. This certainly bears watching. Perhaps Google will shed more light on this and overall project progress at Google I/O 2014 in late June.

The first Project Ara smartphone, dubbed the Gray Phone, is expected to launch in January 2015. It could sell for as low as US$50 and offer only very basic functionality. People will be expected to customize it with other modules through an online tool similar to Motorola’s Motomaker.

Google expects to have its first pre-production Project Ara device ready around the September time frame.

Sources : Nikkei // BGR