Vivek Chhabra, vice-president of Marvell, talks about PXA1928 processor which is used in Project Ara.
“Marvell and Google worked on several other projects in the past. Some of them you might know, for example Chromcast.
What we are creating here is a platform. That means creating unlimited possibilities of new products. To do that, we need a whole set of marketing segments which can be enabled and that’s why Google is opening up a developer platform today.
We started Marvell 20 years ago and now we offer one of the comprehensive and diverse product portfolios on the market.”
“We are working on connectivity products. Most of you are using them today – Networking Infrastructure, Cloud Services, Storage, Digital Entertainment, IoT products, Automotive, Green Energy and 2D/3D Printing. But more than anything we talk about Cellular Handsets. I think it is a start from Google Ara Project. Cellular handsets are creating a model, which allows you to bring many technologies together and then target into other products that we talked about.
6 months ago we discussed with Google about bringing about the best class processor with modem and application processor, many millions of which have been already launched on many global markets including China.”
“So we took the 1928 processor for Project Ara.”
“It’s a 64 bit quad-core processor. When we chose it, it was new out of the shop. Our engineers worked hard to make sure it would come out on time for the Ara project and developer community. It’s a Quad Cortex A53 processor, which has a multi-mode release 9 LTE modem. It is a globally proven UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) technology, but most important part is that certain applications will start using GPU that has higher graphics requirements. We chose this processor for Google’s PSP Class graphics.”
“At the same time it is important to have a high-end camera. We talked about camera sensor module as well but we need to do processing for 1080P and even beyond. Hence we need to have an evolving Android ecosystem as more applications will be placed on handsets, so we require a high-end processor that has better GPU as well.”
“Some people talked about security. Paul already discussed security on Endoskeleton, but even on the processor you need high security that is offered by this processor. As LTE and 3G networks are evolving globally you need best of the class technologies, like IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), VoLTE (Voice over LTE) and RCS (Rich Communications Suite) from different operators and we’ve been moving to eMBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service), so our processor will enable that, which is a worry-free development for you.”
“This processor can be used as a standard AP or possibly integrated module with LTE. Nevertheless, regarding the schematics and design, the question is how we take it to production. We will provide as part of MDK all the schematics that Google is providing to the community. We’ve also been working closely with our partner Toshiba on the bridge. It was tested today and you saw it working on the platforms. As we move forward it will be easier to bring more processors into the schematics.”
“As you create new applications and modules the important part is to understand these technologies should be affordable. Marvell is committed to bringing such technologies. That refers to 64-bit application processors, Wi-Fi, Multimode LTE, GPS, NFC, BT, PMIC and RF. Marvell has a capability to provide developers a complete set of solutions. The important part is evolution of these processors as we move forward. This year it is 1928 processor, by the year-end might be another. We are also bringing octa-core 64-bit processor that has the same compatibility with LTE and software development system, so you don’t need to worry about developing perspectives. These processors will have VoLTE capabilities, eMBMS and the latest certifications.”
As a modular project, a smartphone is just a start. We can provide these modules working on other things people have not even imagined, so it rests on a development community and their targets. Part of the evolution and contribution from Marvell is to provide open source commitment. We’ll provide support for developers for Google’s Ara project.