Motorola Actually Making Those Modular, Upgradeable, 'Replace Any Of The Parts' Cell Phones

October 29, 2013


Remember the Phonebloks modular cellphone concept I posted last month? Well it turns out Motorola has been developing a similar phone for over a year now, and is moving forward to actually bring the thing to market. Phone too slow? Just add a faster processor! Camera not have enough megapixels for you? Slap in a new camera module! Camera only take unflattering pictures? Lose some weight.

Led by Motorola's Advanced Technology and Projects group, Project Ara is developing a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. 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.

Our goal is to drive a more thoughtful, expressive, and open relationship between users, developers, and their phones. 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.

The design for Project Ara consists of what we call an endoskeleton (endo) and modules. The endo is the structural frame that holds all the modules in place. A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter--or something not yet thought of!

Ooh -- I've got a good idea for a module. An x-ray camera. After all, what are the best kind of picures? "Nudey ones." Exactly. And how awesome would it be if ALL the pictures you took were nudey ones? "Not that great considering all my previous shots were already unflattering." Dammit -- well hit the f***ing gym, the phone isn't out yet.

Thanks to my buddy Ferrous, who agrees it would be an even cooler design if all the modules were just connected by dangling wires and your phone looked like you just yanked the guts out of a computer.

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