Motorola’s ‘Project Ara’ modular smartphone setup switches out hardware like apps
We were intrigued by the Phonebloks concept phone that teased the ability to switch out a handset’s components the way most users change ringtones, and now Motorola is putting its resources behind it. In what Motorola calls Project Ara, the advanced Technology and Products group is working with Phonebloks creator Dave Hakkens on an “endoskeleton (endo) and modules.” Announced this evening on the company blog by Paul Eremenko, the company says it’s already “done deep technical work” and is opening the process up to the community and volunteers (aka Ara Scouts, sign up here) to begin designing hardware modules. Its stated goal is to do for hardware what it says Android 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.”
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This project has a kind of “cyberpunk” feel to it, I think I like it. Though the only way I think it will be successful is if it is easy enough for anyone and their grandma to do it. If it’s like building a PC it’s not going to appeal to a large enough audience.