Motorola’s Project Ara: Google’s Ambitious Move for Smartphones
If your phone breaks, what do you do? In all likelihood, you go out and you purchase a new phone, even if the majority of your phone is intact. But what if your phone is made up of detachable blocks and you can easily buy the broken part and replace it yourself? This would enhance the ability to customize your phone, potentially reduce electronic waste, and even make having a cell phone more affordable for certain folks. That’s the aim behind Project Ara.
Project Ara is Google’s answer for creating highly modular smartphones. Google has always had a fairly open policy with their Android platform and their aim is the same with hardware for Project Ara.
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. – Paul Eremenko, and the Motorola Advanced Technology and Projects group, Project Ara Team
Project Ara is led by Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, the team in Motorola that Google held onto when it sold Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. Sharing the same vision as Phonebloks, a popular Kickstarter project, also with the goal of creating modular phones. Google and Phonebloks will be working closely together to create a more open and customizable phone platform. Those interested in contributing to the development and research for Project Ara can sign up to be a Scout. Motorola is inviting people from all around the world to participate in questionnaires and challenges to help shape the direction of Project Ara.
Google plans to have the base point of Project Ara be at $50. That comes with the endoskeleton and wifi functionality. Users, of course, will have the option to add more modules and increase functionality. Google has scheduled the first Ara developer conference on April 15-16 at Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum and plan to release a product approximately one year from now.