Motorola is working on something wicked! A post on the official motorola blog introduced us to ‘Project Ara’- an attempt at making modular smartphones.
In short project Ara is aiming at building a smartphone system which is customisable, upgradeable and open at the hardware level. The device will consists of the base (endoskeleton) which will take in other modules. The modules will be the hardware specifications (new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter) which can be chosen by the users according to their needs.
If you think you have heard something similar before, you are right, Phonebloks was a project headed by Dave Hakkens which aimed to do exactly same thing and made some news few months back, they are trying to create a prototype to launch a Kickstarter campaign.
Motorola claims that they have been working on Project Ara for over a year and when they discovered Dave’s Phonebloks they decided to work with him. Phonebloks might not need a kickstarter campaign at all, if motorola decides to back it and include in its Project Ara.
If Project Ara creates a truly modular and open hardware smartphone platform, third party developers could make hardware modules for the phone like Android developers make apps for the OS. Motorola has plans to release the Module Developers Kit (MDK) sometime in the winter.
Motorola had touted the Moto X as a highly customizable phone, but it turned out that you could only choose the back, front and accent colours. Project Ara could however create a device which is customisable at the software as well as the hardware level and could prove to be the pinnacle of customizability in smartphones.