Motorola's Project Ara joins Phonebloks in modular smartphone ambitions

We've discussed the relatively new initiative Phonebloks a couple times this year, a project kicked off by creator Dave Hakkens that has taken to social media to garner mass support for its mission. As it turns out, Motorola has had a similar project in mind — a modular mobile phone with removable parts — which it announced today as Project Ara, a sort of update to its Sticky endeavors that have taken place over the last few months.

Over the past half year, Motorola had been holding what it called make-a-thons across the nation using its MAKEwithMOTO team and a velcro-wrapped, hackable-smartphone-loaded truck named Sticky. The result of that was some interesting concepts, devices, and applications, as well as a bigger idea about how the company could bring these open hardware ecosystem benefits to the masses. Such is where Project Ara comes in.

Motorola is aiming to create an open hardware platform that is free and allows for creating "highly modular smartphones," one of which you can see in the image above. The idea, says Motorola, is to reduce entry barriers, launch a "vibrant third-party developer ecosystem," reduce development times, and increase the rate of innovation. For now, not too much information is being given, but Motorola has published a couple shots of the devices.

This is very similar to what Phonebloks has been up to, and as such it isn't surprising to learn that Motorola has been in talks with the concept's creator. Says the company, Phonebloks has the community and Motorola has already done the "deep technical work." Project Ara will be carried out in conjunction with the Phonebloks community, giving both sides the best of both worlds. A Modular Developer's Kit (MDK) is being promised later this winter.

SOURCE: Motorola Blog