"One of the principal goals of Project Ara is to lower the barrier-to-entry to the smartphone hardware ecosystem and significantly accelerate the pace of innovation by compressing development timelines," said Paul Eremenko, Head of Project Ara. "We chose Lattice's FGPAs for our first prototype and reference module implementations in the MDK for their ability to meet critical size, power and performance requirements, as well as the ability to play a key role in simplifying and speeding the development of Project Ara modules."
In addition to enabling companies to rapidly develop prototypes of Project Ara modules, the low power and small size of Lattice FPGAs meet the system requirements of a thermally constrained environment, as well as provide the flexibility to support the MIPI UniPro network protocol that will be used for connectivity between modules. Finally, Lattice FPGAs are a proven solution for mobile consumer products making them ideal for production modules as well. Developers can go from prototype to production, reducing the product development effort and accelerating the time-to-market. The advantages of Lattice FPGAs have already been proven in millions of smartphones currently used by consumers worldwide.
"Google's Project Ara opens up possibilities for both consumers and manufacturers and is emblematic of the trend towards 'customized mobility.' You can imagine, for example, consumers having a choice of camera modules, from inexpensive models to premium, from high-end manufacturers who can now enter the lucrative smartphone market," said Lattice CTO David Rutledge. "Small-sized, low-power, small-footprint FPGAs offer an ideal solution for providing critical flexibility and functionality both in terms of connectivity between modules, and enabling an ecosystem in which developers can innovate."
Lattice FPGAs are used today to increase battery life, enable always-on processing, and reduce system cost by offering flexible integration. These same benefits are available to module developers looking to build cost effective modules that can be brought to market faster than using other silicon technologies.
The current Project Ara prototype and reference designs use LatticeECP3 FPGAs in packages as small as 10x10 mm. Lattice's recently announced ECP5 FPGAs are targeted to provide even greater I/O performance and flexibility at lower cost, ideal for meeting the evolving MIPI UniPro interfaces standard. Moreover, Lattice's MachXO3 and iCE40 devices, the world's smallest FPGAs shipping in millions of units per day to major smartphone manufacturers, can be used by module developers to accelerate time to market and provide the flexibility to meet the myriad of connectivity standards, such as DSI, CSI-2, SPI, I2C, I2S and more in tiny packages and at uWatt power consumption.
To educate developers about Project Ara, Google is holding its first Project Ara Module Developers Conference, April 15-16 in Mountain View, CA. Registration for in-person attendance is closed, but interested participants can still register for the online live-stream at www.projectara.com.
Lattice Semiconductor will participate in the Developer Hardware panel on Wednesday, April 16 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.
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