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Toshiba quietly builds the tech for Google’s Project Ara smartphones

by Jacob Kleinman | March 12, 2015March 12, 2015 9:00 am PDT

Google may get most of the credit for Project Ara, but one company has been toiling behind the scenes to turn the dream of a modular smartphone into reality. Toshiba developed the chips that make Project Ara possible, and according to Bloomberg the Japanese firm sees huge potential moving forward.

There are two different chips that allow Project Ara to work, both of which come from Toshiba. The switch chip makes it possible to swap out different modules on the fly, while a bridge chip allows each component to connect to the rest of the device. Google has total control over the switch chip, while Toshiba can sell the bridge chip to any companies interested in making Project Ara modules.

Beyond chips, Toshiba also plans to sell specific Project Ara modules. The company was first to unveil swappable cameras for the device, and it’s already working on other components including one that could add wireless charging. Toshiba also sees potential beyond the smartphone, suggesting Project Ara could expand to other types of devices and the general Internet of Things.

We can’t wait to see what Toshiba and other companies come up with for Project Ara. Unfortunately, there’s still no set plan for a general release of the modular phone, though Google recently confirmed plans for a market pilot test in Puerto Rico sometime this year.

Bloomberg

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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