Remember the Phonebloks concept from earlier this year? It looks like Motorola has been working on a very similar concept to that of their own, and it could see a modular smartphone system that lets you swap in and out components as you need.
In a blog post, Motorola unveiled Project Ara, which has been in the works for a year. Rather than a completely freeform grid that allows for units to be attached in any way, which was what the Phonebloks proposed, Ara instead uses an endoskeleton and series of modules. These individual, standardized, modules would then be able to be swapped in and out as the user wants — to upgrade, or just change what your phone can do.
So if you were going to a party, you could swap out a camera with better low light functionality, or if headed out to a conference, add in some extra battery life.
However, we’re still a little skeptical about how this will all work. Given the ludicrously tight manufacturing demands to squeeze components into a modern smartphone, further limiting them like this might make for slower, lower-spec devices.
But this announcement seems to be very real. Motorola has even teamed up with the guy behind the Phonebloks concept to help develop the system, and are anticipating “alpha release of the Module Developer’s Kit (MDK) sometime this winter”.