On Monday, Motorola unveiled Project Ara, a hardware platform that will let consumers build their own smartphones by snapping modular parts into a frame. Owned by Google, Motorola is taking its parent company’s lead in innovative thinking and design.
Motorola’s Project Ara aims to develop a “free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones.” To date, Project Ara is Motorola’s most ambitious project, although the company did begin the foray into customizable hardware with its Moto X phone, which allows users to choose from an array of colors for the back plate and external hardware accents. The design also allows for component mix-and-match, so that you don’t need to buy a new phone if your screen breaks or you need more internal Flash storage.
Users could customize their phones specifically to their own needs, creating a strong attachment, and hence brand loyalty. The design would also mean users could replace a single component, like the camera, with a better or different one if they so desire.
The Project Ara platform is based upon an endoskeleton which can integrate modules that can be developed from a new processor or display to an extra battery.
Motorola has been pursuing the design for Project Ara for over a year now and plans to work with Dave Hakkens, the guy who envisioned the Phonebloks modular phone concept, as well as with developers who want to begin creating modules for this platform.