Motorola introduces Project Ara, a modular smartphone that allows user to switch components and customize their devices. Motorola is closely working with Phonebloks creators, those who spread the concept of interchangeable hardware modules. Project Ara aims at developing an open hardware platforms to create highly customizable phones.
A smartphone composed of a set of blocks that gives you a multitude of possibilities to customize your smartphone :
Motorola’s platform will include two parts: an endoskeleton – the base of the device – and a set of modules that are connected to the base. The mobile would be made of detachable blocks which lock into the solid base.
If you want to upgrade or repair your phone, you just have to replace the blocks. In a nutshell, you can assemble a phone that will suit your needs. You can lock a bigger block with a most powerful camera if you are a mobile-photo enthusiast for instance. For those who prefer to improve their phone’s battery capacity, they can upgrade the initial frame with a bigger battery block. If you simply want more powerful components, just pick up the module you want and lock it on the frame.
Motorola announced they would work closely with Phonebloks communities during the stage of development of the phone. Developers will be invited to design the multitude of blocks for the Ara platform.
Dave Hakkens, creator of PhoneBloks, launched the presentation video on September, 10th, 2013, which became viral with over 17 million views in just two months :
Project Ara would be a strong asset for Motorola, allowing them to potentially get a higher position in the mobile market. Following their successful achievements in the past, Motorola has lost over $4 billion from 2007 to 2009 and was divided into two independent entities, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. On May 2012, Google Inc. acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, which allowed the Internet multinational corporation to reach 17.000 patents in mobile industry. This innovation could therefore be a major turn for Motorola.
In fact, they have been working on the idea of modular smartphones for over a year. When PhoneBloks spread the concept of its phone and raise millions of supporters, it was a wonderful opportunity for Motorola to think about a collaboration with the startup.
PhoneBloks officially formalized the cooperation with Motorola in a second video :