In the latest news for Project Ara, Sennheiser, the well-known German audio manufacuter, in collaboration with Phonebloks, the original driving force of the project before Google took over, have announced two modular components to be added to the concept smartphone.
One module, known as “amphion”, is for high-quality audio capture and playback. It contains a class G amplifier, along with a low-noise microphone input. Included is a low latency, digital processor that will make good use of Sennheiser’s customized EQ. These should please both audiophiles and musicians who want high quality audio for later use. The DSP (digital signal processor) is user programmable, so developers should be happy with the experimentation possibilities.
The second module, “proteus”, is supplied with two audio jacks, which will allow consumers to share music with friends quite easily and, according to Sennheiser, opens up the possibility for two stereo jacks to connect four microphone inputs for directional audio capture.
Also joining Google in the project is Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. (TAEC). At a Mountain View conference held on January 14th, TAEC and Elnfochips, a product engineering and services company, announced the ARTOS12 Development Kit for working with Project Ara. Elnfochips will offer engineering services and expertise to help with development and performance optimization, multimedia integration, platform porting and more.
Finally, Lapka, who makes an array of environmental sensors for mobile, both IOS and Android, has come on board. Working with Google, they have created a collection of Project Ara modules, including sensors for air quality, CO2, EKG and light intensity. The sensing technology is very innovative. As an example, the light sensor detects luminosity and makes suggestions for skin and eye protection.
It seems to me that Google, with these partnerships, and whatever others might come along, may just make the modular smartphone concept work. The progress that they seem to be making is impressive to say the least. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even silence the doubters.
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