Sep 23, 2019 | Updated: 11:17 AM EDT

Motorola's Modular Phone Project

Nov 01, 2013 12:13 PM EDT

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Motorola is looking even more towards the future by recently introducing Ara, its modular phone, this week. Motorola's Modular Phone Project, the company’s MAKEwithMOTO team, had been on the road the past six months with a truck called Sticky. The team has been working hard on conducting “make-a-thons” across the United States using hackable Motorola smartphones. High end 3D printing equipment were also used. The phone is currently being designed for the global mass market.

Motorola’s Android open hardware ecosystem discovered  includes components from today’s modern smartphones. The new highly modulular smartphone applications, devices and ecosystem developed in Motorola labs sparked the new birth of  “Ara.”  Motorola recently stated the following for Project Ara, "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 times."

According to Motorola’s recent blog post, “Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, Project Ara is developing a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. 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. Our goal is to drive a more thoughtful, expressive, and open relationship between users, developers, and their phones.”

Take a look at some of the initial designs for Project Ara shared from Motorola’s official blog:

*Motorola Blog

Ara is designed to take a customized Android smartphone approach. Project Ara consists of an “endoskeleton” (endo) with modules. Endo is the structural frame for the modules. The team has been designing Project Ara for more than a year. Project Ara  plans to further build within the Phonebloks community. The Phonebloks concept is the founder’s vision to create a modular smartphone which is from the “building blocks” of its consumers. Still in development process, the company will further its R&D efforts through Project Ara research “scouts” or volunteers.

The release of Ara’s Module Developer’s Kit (MDK) is expected before this year. Motorola expects to send invitations to various developers in the next few months. The efforts will be in place to invite new developers to create modules for Ara’s platform. The company even hints that a prize may be offered to the winners.

Customisable computing can certainly lead to many possibilities if it indeed proves to work. Some of the present challenges we have with mobile technologies and advancing to modular concepts its that our technologies are traditionally not designed as “modular.” Forward driving concepts such as Project Ara, however, could change this.

Do you think Motorola’s Modular Phone concept has potential for the real world? 

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