For decades people have been able to build a custom desktop PC by using various components and building exactly what they want. It looks like modular smartphones might be in the works as Motorola has been looking into it secretly for over a year. Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects group is working on what they are calling Project Ara. Project Aria is a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. Basically your phone has a number of blocks or components that can be changed out when needed. This means if you run out of storage space or your touchscreen stops working, that you could possibly just grab a new block and switch it out.
A company called Phonebloks made news earlier this year when they announced a modular smartphone design that got nearly 1 million people to support the project on Thunderclap. It appears that Motorola has teamed up with the creator of the Phonebloks concept, so it looks like this could be getting some serious traction.
Motorola says the alpha MDK (Module Developer’s Kit) will be released sometime in the next few months, where developers will soon be invited to start creating modules for Project Ara. Motorola is also looking for Ara Scouts (volunteers interested in helping us learn about how people make choices). You can sign up to be one here.