democratized hardware design

9.17: news.adds/openware/democratized hardware design:
co.yt#ARMdevices.net Sep 15, 2014:
Google Project Ara Keynote: 
“What if hardware was more like software?
Google’s Project Ara and the
democratization of the hardware ecosystem.”
Google wants Project Ara to lower the entry barrier
for phone hardware manufacturers
so there could be "hundreds of thousands of developers"
instead of the current handful of big manufacturers.
Anyone will be able to build a module
without requiring a license or paying a fee.
Modules will be available both at an official Google store
and at third-party stores.
Ara phones will only accept official modules by default,
but users can change a software setting
to enable unofficial modules.
This is similar to how Android handles app installations.
Commercial release of the developer's kit
is planned for Q1 2015;
Subsequent versions  of the developers' kit
will be built around an ASIC implementation of UniPro,
running over a capacitive M-PHY physical layer.
Eremenko says modularity would add less than
25% size, power, and weight to components,
and he believes that is an acceptable trade-off
for the added flexibility.
The current prototype is 9.7mm thick,
slightly thicker than conventional smartphones.

UniPro protocol:
The initiative to develop the UniPro protocol
came forth out of a pair of research projects
at Nokia Research Center and Philips Research.
Both teams independently arrived at the conclusion that
the complexity of mobile systems could be reduced by
splitting the system design into
well-defined functional modules
interconnected by a network.
The key assumptions were thus that
the networking paradigm gave modules
well-structured, layered interfaces
and that it was time to improve the
system architecture of mobile systems
to make their hardware- and software design
more modular to counteract the rising
development costs, development risks
and time-to-market impact
of increasingly complex system integration.
. UniPro needs to support a wide range of
modules and data traffic
using a single protocol stack.
Although other connectivity technologies
(SPI, PCIe, USB) exist
which also support a wide range of applications,
it should be noted that the inter-chip interfaces
used in mobile electronics
are still diverse which differs significantly from the
(more mature) computer industry.

In mobile-telephone technology,
the UniPro protocol stack follows the architecture of
the network's classical OSI Reference Model,
and is a MIPI Alliance specification.

Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) Alliance:
MIPI Alliance (www.mipi.org)
is a global, open membership organization
that develops interface specifications
for the mobile ecosystem
including mobile-influenced industries.
It was founded in 2003 by ARM, Intel, Nokia, Samsung,
STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.
MIPI specifications provide interface solutions
for mobile handsets.
As the traditional mobile ecosystem has expanded
to include tablets and laptops,
MIPI members include handset manufacturers,
device OEMs, software providers, semiconductor companies,
application processor developers,
IP tool providers, test and test equipment companies,
as well as camera, tablet and laptop manufacturers.