TECH
29/10/2013 05:05 GMT

Motorola Project Ara Teams With Phonebloks To Develop Customisable Modular Smartphones

The idea of a "modular" mobile phone first came to our attention last month with Phonebloks - but frustratingly, the concept was... well, just a concept.

The basic premise is a device would be completely customisable and built by the user.

Take lots of photos? Get a bigger camera module. Have lots of films and music? Get a bigger memory module.

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Each module has a different purpose and specification

Just want to make calls? Forgo the fancy bits and just get a whacking great big battery that will last you for days.

Fortunately Motorola has seen huge potential in the design and has decided to collaborate with Phonebloks creator, Dave Hakkens.

Dubbed 'Project Ara', it will be an open "open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones".

The device will come as a central "endoskeleton" with modules developed by third-parties.

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The modular design also looks pretty cool

Paul Eremenko from Motorola's advanced technology and projects team, said: "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."

Motorola - now a subsidiary of Google - is looking for "Project Ara research scouts" to help test the technology throughout the development process.

The most active 100 of these a free device when it launches - possibly as early as next year.

Motorola's inspiration for getting involved in such a project came from Sticky, "a truck wrapped entirely in velcro and filled with rooted, hackable Motorola smartphones and high-end 3D printing equipment, across the country for a series of make-a-thons".

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