Motorola's Project Ara to bring custom smartphones to market

Modular design will allow users to upgrade parts such as display or camera.

Motorola wants to bring customisable devices to the market by developing a free and open hardware platform.

Dubbed Project Ara, Motorola plans to allow users to customise the look, material, place of origin and cost.

A module can be anything ... [even] something not yet thought of!

Instead of having to buy a new device, users will in theory be able to upgrade individual components like the camera or the processor, depending on their needs. This should cut the cost of ownership and help to save materials, as millions of devices are currently disgarded each year.

Guest editor's thoughts

You can find out what our guest editor, RLB's Mark Evans, thinks about Project Ara here.

Paul Eremenko, VP of advanced technology and projects at 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 has been working on Project Ara for over a year and has teamed up with modular specialist Phonebloks to get the idea off the ground. The firm said that it will release more details in the following months and that will be actively seeking feedback from the Phonebloks community.

Project Ara builds on the firm's Moto X smartphone initiative. Motorola created 2000 jobs at Ft. Worth Texas plant where devices can be customised by US users.

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