Modular phones from Motorola? Project Ara

moto ara1blo looks like Motorola has taken a leaf out of Phonebloks’ book as it has announced that its new research and development team, called Project Ara, is developing modular phones.

Project Ara’s team is developing an “open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones”.

So, self-assemble phones, In other words.

Team Moto have huge dreams as they are setting themselves the goal of doing “for hardware what the Android platform has done for software.”

The idea is pretty cool, actually.

The plan is to create a third-party developer ecosystem for hardware, which would presumably make it easier for people to chip in to the sector. Someone might producing a camera, or a GPS module and make it available much like apps.

This means that companies could play to their strengths, deliver straight to consumers, but not have to make an entire phone.

In turn, that could make for more versatile, personalised phones, with the user getting to decide what they need and don’t; what their phone can and can’t do, how it looks and how long it lasts – more importantly, perhaps, how much it costs.

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It is, of course, an idea that’s been had before, but never really come to fruition, largely because modular designs have been too bulky in the past. What ever happened to Modu after Google bought it?

Motorola seems to think that the tech is ready and it’s new design, built up of what it calls an endoskeleton and modules, does look pretty sleek. The team behind it explains:

The endo is the structural frame that holds all the modules in place. A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter — or something not yet thought of!

I’m totally up for this kind of customisation and having a more competitive parts bin for smartphones, as long as the quality is controlled a bit.

What do you think? Let me know below.

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