The past few months have seen some pretty solid progress towards the dream of a fully modular smartphone, and back in October we got a look at an assembled Project Ara prototype handset booting into Android. The arrival of that news also brought with it word of the next Ara dev conference, set to get underway in mid-January. Among the topics we’ve been looking forward to for coverage there is the reveal of the next-gen Ara Spiral 2 prototype board, which will form the backbone for future Ara module development. Today we get an early preview, as Google ATAP shares a look at the Spiral 2 motherboard.
The big appeal of this new hardware is what it means for the individual modules that will connect to all those exposed contact pads you see. While the previous-gen Ara board required modules to have a lot of circuitry on each of them just for communications, the Spiral 2 design helps seriously streamline that aspect, freeing up a ton of additional board space. That means that module devs have more room to build functionality into their products, hopefully culminating in a richer Ara experience for everyone.
That next Ara dev conference is still on track for the middle of January, with plans to introduce the Ara Module Developers Kit 0.20. Then we’re still expecting to see Ara hardware go up for sale sometime later in 2015, though that target already looks to have slid back a bit; just when you’ll be able to pick up an exo and some modules for yourself remains to be seen.