Motorola Ara is a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones which can be easily upgraded to next generation specs. The open hardware ecosystem is now a possibility thanks to the advances in additive manufacturing and access to the powerful computational capabilities of latest smartphones. The design for Project Ara consists of an endoskeleton 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 or an extra battery. The overall goal of Project Ara is to develop a smartphone platform that is modular, open, customizable, and made for the entire world.
Motorola is working with Phonebloks founder Dave Hakkens to achieve this goal. The company is expected to launch an alpha release of the Module Developer’s Kit (MDK) sometime this winter. Motorola want to create a vibrant third party hardware developer ecosystem similar to what the Android platform has done for software. Stay tuned for more updates or follow @harrym20 on Twitter.
Update : Motorola has entered into a multi-year development agreement with 3D Systems to develop next generation modular smartphones. 3D Systems is expected to manufacture 3D-printed Ara smartphone enclosures and modules as Motorola’s exclusive fulfillment partner.
Update : Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside confirmed in a recent Google+ hangout interview that a prototype of Motorola’s first modular smartphone is almost ready. “There is a prototype and it is pretty close,” Motorola’s CEO said. “The idea is you have a skeleton that holds together a set of components and the components slide in and out. If we have the interfaces and the protocols that enable the speaker to speak directly to the CPU then this would all be possible.” There is still no information available on the release but it is expected to be sold through Motorola’s Moto Maker site.
Update : According to a new report, Google is expected to launch its first modular smartphone prototype in the coming weeks. Google may have sold Motorola to Lenovo, but is working hard to launch the first full-functioning modular smartphone prototype within weeks.”We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software,” said Paul Eremenko of Motorola Advanced Technology. “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.”
“We want not just to create something that’s custom, and not even just something that’s unique, but actually something that’s expressive so that people can use this as a canvas to tell a story,” Eremenko said. “So that you can set your phone down at dinner on the table next to you, and it becomes a topic of conversation for the first fifteen minutes of dinner.”
Phonebloks update – The team behind Ara:
Update : Google has officially announced the first release of the Project Ara Module Developers Kit (MDK) for developers. The v0.10 is a very early version and the goal for this MDK release is to give developers an insight into Project Ara development. It will be available to download at http://projectara.com/mdk/.
Update : According to a new CNET report, Google’s first Project Ara Modular Smartphone is expected to go on sale in January 2015 for $50.
“It’s scheduled to go on sale in January 2015 for around $50,” Project Ara leader Paul Eremenko said at the first developer’s conference on April 15th. He added, “It’s called the Gray Phone because it’s meant to be drab gray to get people to customize it.”
Update : Motorola Project Ara Update
Update : Google Will Officially Unveil First Modular Smartphone At MWC 2015 in Barcelona
According to a new report, Google will officially unveil first modular smartphone at MWC 2015 in Barcelona next month. Fifty modular components are expected to be shown off at the show.
Update : Google Expected to Launch First Modular Smartphone in 2016
Update : Google Suspends Project Ara Modular Smartphone Concept
According to a report from Reuters, Google has suspended Project Ara, it’s modular smartphone concept with interchangeable components.