Currently, three big names in semiconductor industry are confirmed as partners of Google’s Project Ara.
On August 22, 2014 Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group announced that Chinese processor manufacturer Rockchip (full name Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics Co.) would create “a mobile SoC* with a native, general-purpose UniPro** interface, so that it can function as an application processor in an Ara module without the need for a bridge chip“.
*SoC (system-on-a-chip) is an integrated circuit that integrates all components of a computer or other electronic system into a single chip.
**UniPro is a high-speed interface protocol used by Project Ara to allow its modules to interconnect with each other.
Rockchip UniPro processor is considered as a trailblazer for modular architecture developed by ATAP group. Google said they expected to use the Rockchip UniPro processor in their 3rd design spiral, with a prototype anticipated in early 2015.
On December 18, 2014 ATAP group revealed that they would also work with two other chipset makers: NVIDIA and Marvell. NVIDIA will provide its latest Tegra K1 SoC processor, while Marvell will support the Google’s project with PXA1928 SoC processor. These processors will be used to create two separate reference designs and form factor module prototypes around them.
Toshiba UniPro bridge chips will be used to interconnect the on-device network. Toshiba has already shared detailed technical documentation of UniPro bridge chip. This switch and bridge chip provides solution for camera module, media bar module, Transferjet module, Wi-Fi module, display module, wireless communication module, and activity measuring module.
P.S. Good news for all who are interested in modular phones. ATAP group recently confirmed on their G+ page that they successfully connected the application processor (AP) module to the display over the UniPro network and through the switch.