Google has released the Project Ara Module Developers Kit (MDK) and we are just a few days away from Google’s first ever Ara Developers’ Conference to be held from 15th April to 16th April in Mountain View, California.
As we all know, Project Ara is a platform for creating modular smartphones. Users will be able to populate an endoskeleton, the structural frame and network backbone of the device, and populate it with modules, the building blocks that make up the vast majority of the phone’s functionality and features.
Since modules are interchangeable, a user has the freedom to design exactly the phone they want and continue to customize the phone over time by replacing modules.
Ara’s success is predicated on a rich, vibrant, and diverse ecosystem of modules from a myriad of developers. Users would be able to select modules from an online marketplace using a Configurator that facilitates user choice and curates the configuration process to ensure that the selection of modules provides the expected system-level functionality.
The newly released MDK documentation covers guidelines for designing Project Ara smartphones, describing different valid module and their dimensions, internal construction, layout for power pads etc. Google provides the skeleton for three main sizes i.e. mini, medium and large. Large skeletons will be able to accommodate more Ara modules as compared to the mini and medium.
Modules are the building blocks of an Ara phone. These are the physical components that implement various phone functions.
There are currently two major classes of these modules:
Front modules, which make up the front of the phone and generally provide user interaction or interface afordance such as the display, speaker, microphone, etc., and rear modules, which provide the bulk of the phone’s back-end (non-user facing) functionality. Front modules reach across the entire width of a particular endoskeleton frame.
Rear modules, which come in three standard sizes (1×1, 1×2, and 2×2) and can fit into multiple frame sizes.
Users will be able to choose different setups i.e. touchscreen-only setups, as well as options with physical QWERTY keyboard, or even a number pad.
In order to ensure uniformity in Ara device’s basic functionality, the MDK provides guidelines for the most common modules such as processors, display units, batteries, Wi-Fi chips, etc. They cover even the physical appearance and measures of the modules.
It’s a great news for tech-savvy smartphone fans and we are all thrilled and excited to see them happen.
The Project Ara Module Developers Kit can be downloaded via this link.