Feeds

Mix-and-match mobiles: Google unveils Project Ara dev conference

Seeks hardware hackers for Motorola's modular phone

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Google says it is planning a series of three online developer conferences this year in support of Project Ara, the modular mobile phone design being developed by its Motorola Mobility division.

Announced last year, Ara is a unique concept that will allow users to build their own devices from a collection of snap-together parts. Customers who prefer a hard keyboard will be able add one, for example, while photo bugs will be able to upgrade their phones' cameras.

On Wednesday, the Chocolate Factory said that the first Ara Developers' Conference will be held from April 14 through 16.

Conference sessions will be conducted mainly online, including a live webstream and an interactive Q&A capability (we're thinking Google Hangouts), although a limited number of participants will be able to attend in person at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

The focus of this first gathering will be to introduce the Ara Module Development Kit (MDK), a platform specification and reference implementation that hardware tinkerers can use as the basis for building their own modules.

"The Developers' Conference will consist of a detailed walk-through of existing and planned features of the Ara platform, a briefing and community feedback sessions on the alpha MDK, and an announcement of a series of prize challenges for module developers," the Ara project homepage explains.

Ara modules interconnect using the UniPro protocol developed by the MIPI Alliance. For the alpha version of the MDK, Google says UniPro will be implemented in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) running over a low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) physical layer. That means initial module designs will be run at less than ideal speeds, but future versions of the MDK will ship with a UniPro application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) running over the MIPI Alliance's M-PHY physical layer for better performance.

If that last bit sailed right over your head, then the Ara Developers' Conference probably isn't for you. You're welcome to tune into the live webfeed, but Google says it would like to reserve on-site attendance for actual, committed hardware hackers.

In fact, before the Chocolate Factory will even sell you a ticket to the in-person Mountain View event – at $100 apiece, or $25 for students – you'll need to submit a little essay on the conference's registration page explaining why you, of all people, deserve to attend. And if you do get the nod, which could happen anytime between now and the conference date, you'll have just 48 hours to cough up the cash.

Even if you don't make the cut, however, Google says the MDK specs should be available for download at no cost in time for the April event.

As for when the other two events in the planned series will take place, Google has yet to announce dates. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.