The Google Atap team kicked off its first event of the second Project Ara Developers Conference. The new Project Ara prototype, called Spiral 2, was definitely the star of the event. At the conference was shown a new model able to launch Android without any problem.
Based on the new MDK 0.2 released a few days ago, it supports modules hot-swapping and 3G calls. At this moment, the reference device use a 1280 x 720 display, a WiFi/Bluetooth module, a receiver module with light and proximity sensors, a 5 MP camera module, a 3G cellular module, a Usb charger module, a 2×2 battery module, a speaker, and a processor module (Marvell PXA1928 and Tegra K1).
Now there are 11 working modules but Google plans to have as many as thirty options available by the end of this year.
One of the most evident changes from the first prototype is the shift of the electro permanent magnets (Epm) from the modules to the Endo. In this way, developers will have more space inside the modules to use as they want. For those who don’t remember, Epm are used to firmly hold the modules without using power.
The development team has also changed the production system of the Ara shell, updating the modules 3d printing system. Using dye-sublimation, modules will be able to be customized at high resolution and in full color.
At the conference were presented innovations also in Ara software. The Ara Manager Application allows users complete control of their modules. It’s always running and will be launched like any other app.
Through it, modules can be locked and unlocked for removal and users can access to module statistics, vendor info and usage guide. This app will help future Ara owners by highlighting issues and suggesting optimal slots to put a module in.
Google’s been working with the Spiral 2 prototype since last July and it’s getting more ambitious with the next. Eremenko says we can expect the Spiral 3 to “match or exceed the functionality of a state-of-the-art smartphone today”. The design will be much more sophisticated than Spiral 2 with 1-day battery life, a high-end camera, support for 4G Lte connectivity with new antennas and contactless connection for modules. Google will introduce the last prototype sometime in Q2 of 2015 together with the new version of the MDK (0.5).
The original article was posted on the blog of Phonebloks.