US-based smartphone maker Motorola has unveiled a project, Ara, that empowers the user to decide and choose the components they want in their mobiles.
The Google-owned handset company on Monday announced Project Ara, a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. An endoskeleton, or structural frame, holds the smartphone modules of the owner's choice, such as a display, keyboard, or extra battery. The approach should allow users to swap out malfunctioning modules or upgrade as innovations emerge, providing a handset that stays up-to-date much longer than today's smartphones.
"Our goal is to drive a more thoughtful, expressive, and open relationship between users, developers, and their phones," Motorola wrote in a company blog post. "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."
In the works for more than a year, Project Ara recently partnered with Dave Hakkens, the creator of Phonebloks."We've been working on Project Ara for over a year. Recently, we met Dave Hakkens, the creator of Phonebloks. Turns out we share a common vision: to develop a phone platform that is modular, open, customisable, and made for the entire world," the firm said.
This isn't Motorola's first foray into smartphone customization, though Project Ara takes things much further. Over the summer, the company launched its Moto Maker service, which lets buyers of Moto X phones indulge their build-to-order desires, mixing and matching body and interface features including onboard memory, wallpaper, and front, back, and accent colors for the device's shell.
"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," Motorola said in its blog post.
Motorola says the MDK (Module Developer’s Kit) will be released sometime in the next few months, where developers will soon be invited to start creating modules for Project Ara. Interested in becoming an Ara Scout? Motorola is inviting regular folks like yourself to collaborate with them on “special missions” that will help shape Project Ara for the masses.