Motorola Project Ara – is the component phone idea about to get real?

Motorola Ara endo frame with blue components

Last month we ran a story on a concept design called Phonebloks, a smartphone that you could customise for your needs component by component. Well, it turn out that Motorola have been working on jsut such a design for the past year, and it has been in touch with Dave Hakkens, the Phonebloks designer.

In Motorola’s words, this is the idea:

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 Ara design in red

The Motorola team will work “in the open” with the large community that Dave Hakkens built after the publication of his Phonebloks design. Even more interesting, Motorola is asking people to sign up to be involved in the design of the final product. Visit the Project Ara page, and sign up as a Project Ara Research Scout. Then:

  1. After you sign up, we’ll email you about once a month with opportunities to share photos, ideas and commentary about topics relating to Project Ara. You’ll get the first email within a couple of days!
  2. If you have an Android or iPhone, each opportunity will arrive as a “mission” for you to complete using the free dscout app on your phone. If you don’t have an Android or iPhone, stay tuned!
  3. The dscout app will guide you through sharing your photos, ideas and commentary with us. We can’t wait to see what you have to say!

The 100 most active community members will receive a free Project Ara smartphone, while all that sign up will be offered a discount on the phone.

Motorola Ara concept designs
A few of the design ideas from Project Ara