Remember Phonebloks and how we all had a good laugh about how unworkable and idealistic it was? It turns out Motorola has been working on a similar project for the last year, and it’s called Project Ara. This is really happening.
Here’s what Ara is, according to Motorola:
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!
Motorola isn’t just taking the Phonebloks vision and running with it. The company will be working with Phonebloks and its developer community to make a modular phone possible. Motorola will soon start seeking input from so-called Ara Scouts to help the Google subsidiary shape the future of Project Ara. In a few months, Motorola will begin inviting developers to design modules for the Ara platform – a Module Developer’s Kit (MDK) could be ready as soon as this winter.
It almost goes without saying, but if Motorola (with Google’s backing) can make this work, it’s going to be an honest-to-goodness revolution in the smartphone industry. Want a better camera, but don’t need much storage? You can spend big on the image sensor and cheap-out on the NAND. Speaker in your phone busted? Just disconnect it and add a new module. Rather than buy a whole new phone, you could simply upgrade the parts you want.
It’s also worth noting the crowd-sourced “Thunderclap” campaign for Phonebloks is happening in about 9 hours. So, the timing here seems very convenient. This idea sounds insane, but maybe it has a real shot now.