Motorola today announced a new open hardware platform for building modular smartphones, called “Project Ara”. The idea is to create a modular smartphone similar to a assembled PC, where you can choose which components you want in your phone and be able to swap components for upgrading.
Motorola says they want to create a hardware platform for phones like Android for software. “We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines.
Motorola has posted a couple of pictures here which you can see on this page. The pictures reveal that the phone has a base component called endoskeleton (or endo) and modules. Users can add other modules to the endo to customize their smartphones. Users have the freedom to choose modules make and other things with this type of design. In future if they want to upgrade they can simply swap parts and get the latest technology onto their phone.
Motorola is working on these designs from past year and now they are working along with Phonebloks, another company interested in the same idea. Phonebloks already has an enthusiastic community around the modular phone, Motorola will work with the community. For the project they are recruiting research scouts who will volunteer, give feedback etc. These scouts will receive discounts when the Project Ara launches and hundred most active scouts will receive free devices.
If the project succeeds it will be great for everyone, but Motorola has long road ahead to make this happen. The Project Ara will launch a year from now according to Motorola.