updated 06:17 am EDT, Tue October 29, 2013
Users can choose individual modules to create unique smartphone
Motorola is developing a system that could be used to create highly-customized smartphones in the future. Project Ara is hoped to become a "free, open hardware platform" that will let users pick and choose specific components for a smartphone from various manufacturers, followed by combining the modules together into a single mobile device.
Similar to the Phonebloks system, Project Ara uses an endoskeleton as a structural frame to hold all the modules in place, writes the Motorola blog. Modules for processing, the display, a keyboard, a battery, and other components can be added to the frame to form the smartphone, with users able to switch out parts for upgraded versions or to replace damaged segments.
The Google-owned phone manufacturer has apparently been working on Project Ara for over a year, alongside the creator of Phonebloks, Dave Hakkens. The Phonebloks community will be consulted throughout its development process, with invitations to developers to create modules set to be sent out in the coming months, and an alpha release of the Module Developer's Kit expected sometime this winter.