Modular smartphone gets real with Motorola's Project Ara

Credit: Motorola

Customization is a beautiful thing, and the folks at Motorola know it. Sure, the Moto X was pretty with its fantastic customizable color combinations, but now, the company is taking personalized design a huge step further by allowing customers to literally build their own phone.

The Google company just announced Ara, an open hardware platform that will close the gap between would-be developers and their phones. Ara will give creators 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," according to an official Motorola blog post.

After six months of traveling across the country in a velcro-wrapped, 3D printer-equipped van named Sticky, the MAKEwithMOTO team realized the possibilities of opening up the make of a phone's hardware to the general population. Project Ara designs will consist of two components: an endoskeleton (endo) structural frame that holds the phone together and modules.

By customizing what types of modules go into an Ara-created smartphone, no two phones will be the same. Modules can be anything from batteries to a display to a keyboard, or even something not yet thought of by anyone.

Project Ara will begin sending invites to developers to create new modules for the Ara platform in "a few months," with an alpha release of a Module Developer's Kit to come "sometime in the winter." If this sounds a whole lot like the Phonebloks concept, that's because Motorola is working with its creator Dave Hakkens. Will the future of smartphones be modular? Motorola aims to find out if it's feasible and if people even want a phone where they can swap in components, PC-style.

Via Motorola

For the latest tech stories, follow DVICE on Twitter
at @dvice or find us on Facebook