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New Project Ara modules revealed by Toshiba

Toshiba has revealed a host of new modules designed to work with Google’s modular Project Ara smartphone.

The company already showed off several camera modules at a developer conference back in January.

Those modules were fully functional, and will eventually be bought directly by consumers.

Toshiba’s new modules are just reference designs, however, which means third-party manufacturers will utilise the blueprints to produce their own modules.

First up is Toshiba’s Display Module, which will plug into an Ara handset to act as a screen (via AraPrototype).

As this is just a reference design, we can’t tell you what sort of display resolutions you can expect from the module as that information will only come once OEMs begin developing with it.

One interesting point about Toshiba’s display, however, is that it comes with an integrated headphone jack. That’s good news, as it means you won’t need to shell out for an extra audio port module if you want to use headphones with an Ara device.

Related: What is Project Ara?

Next is the Transferjet Module, which will allow your handset to transfer data wirelessly.

The technology was first developed by Sony in 2008, and promises 375Mbit/s transfer speeds.

The final module design is called the Wi-Fi Module, which does what it says on the tin. Putting this in your Project Ara smartphone means you’ll be able to connect to a Wi-Fi network. It’s also got Bluetooth built in.

Speaking in January, Shardul Kazi, Senior VP at Toshiba America, said: “We’ve been engaged in Ara program for more than a year now.”

“We took some of Toshiba technologies and our chips, and developed some module reference designs. We can open these designs out for everybody, so people can use it for their own technology and developing modules.”

Google recently confirmed that modules would eventually be able to buy on a dedicated marketplace, although it’s not yet clear when that service will go live.

We’re still not sure when we’ll even be able to get our hands on the final consumer iteration of Project Ara.

The search engine giant will be trialling Project Ara smartphones in the second half of this year, although the tests will be held exclusively in Puerto Rico.

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