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Toshiba, Einfochips to develop chips for Google's Ara modules
"Google is designing modular smartphones in which different modules can be assembled as one smart-phone," said senior vice president and chief technology officer, Toshiba, USA, Shardul Kazi.
"Toshiba will make chips which can be used in modules and in the base plate, and will give idea on what kind of modules can be developed," Kazi said. Those chips will be developed in partnership with Einfochips, the executive said, adding the Gujarat-based company will also verify the chips.
On 'Ara', Kazi said consumers can make their own smartphone as per their demands or can upgrade it with new features they like to set in the modular phone. Kazi said the modular phone has a skeleton or a base-plate body, where consumer can set required hardware applications in the form of a magnetic ship module.
Two versions of phones have been already developed, which include Spiral-one and Spiral-two, Kazi said. Spiral-one and two have been made available for the module developers, while Spiral-3 will be made available for consumers.
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Project Ara's Spiral-3 will be introduced on pilot basis in Caribbean island country Puerto Rico. When asked about the price of the modular phones, Kazi said, "Price will be fixed by Google. However, different modules will be ranging from USD 50 to 5,000." He said the cost can be cut to make it affordable for consumers.