Feeds

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

Seeks hardware hackers for Motorola's modular phone

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.