Imagine never needing to buy a new phone anymore.
Processor running a bit slow? Just swap in a new one. Fancy more megapixels in your camera? Just pop the old one out of your phone and add a new snapper.
That’s what Motorola is aiming for with Project Ara. The brainchild of Moto's Advanced Technology and Projects, Project Ara is an open hardware ecosystem in which smartphone components can be swapped in and out to create your own custom handset.
If it sounds similar to the Phonebloks modular phone concept, that shouldn't be a surprise; Motorola has teamed up with Phonebloks creator Dave Hakkens, and will be working with the Phonebloks community as it develops Project Ara.
Project Ara phones are based around an endoskeleton, or "endo," and modules – which include camera units, battery, screen, keyboard and sensors.
Swap in, swap out
Project Ara will be opened up to the community and volunteers to design new modules; the module development kit (MDK) is expected to be out around winter.
Motorola says that it's aiming to do for phone hardware what Android has done for software, and "create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines."