Motorola has announced it is developing a free, open hardware platform that will create highly modular smartphone hardware. Called Project Ara, users will be able to customize their smartphone’s hardware and choose what features they want in their devices. “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,” the company said in the announcement. Also Read - Best smartphones for photography under Rs 20,000 to gift for Father's Day
Project Ara is led by Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Product Group. “Our goal is to drive a more thoughtful, expressive, and open relationship between users, developers, and their phones. To give you the power to decide what your phone does, how it looks, where and what it’s made of, how much it costs, and how long you’ll keep it,” the company added. Also Read - Moto G Stylus 5G launched with Snapdragon 480 SoC: Check price, specifications
The project is quite similar to Phonebloks and Motorola is working with its creator Dave Hakkens. The phones will consist of an endoskeleton (endo) and modules. The endo is the structure that would hold the modules that could be anything from a keyboard to a display to a processor to even sensors among other things. Also Read - Best camera phones under Rs 10,000 in June: Moto G10 Power, Redmi 9 Prime and more
The idea about a modular phone that can customize according to different users or a single user’s different needs is nothing new. A few years ago, an Israeli company Modu, had attempted to do something similar with its “modu phone” that had one core phone that could fit into various jackets to change the user experience. However, the idea was ahead of its time when the software platforms were not powerful enough and the pace of hardware updates were an annual upgrade, unlike today when Android has emerged to become a highly customizable platform and hardware upgrades happen on a quarterly basis.
Motorola says it has been working on the project for over a year. It will develop the project in an open fashion and developers among others can register themselves as Ara Scouts to participate in the project from here. In the meanwhile, check out the Phoneblocks video that shows off the concept.