Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 29th Oct 2013 15:10 UTC

Led by Motorola's Advanced Technology and Projects group, Project Ara is developing a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones. We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines.


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!

This could be the biggest innovation in smartphones since, well, the first smartphones appeared on the market. I am incredibly excited about this.

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(apologies if someone's already said exactly this above - don't have time to read the whole thread at the moment)

My personal favourite idea going back some time -no doubt others have had similar many times- is to basically have all the 3g/4g+ radios/chips plus the sim slot and a little memory and small usb 'network' cpu live in what is essentially a micro-usb thumb drive 4mm x 12mm x 15mm long (could that do it?) and simply recess the standard micro usb slot on most phones by a hole of those dimensions..

If all Windows Phone, iPhones and Androids operated like this (but were still fully functional wifi only mini tablets without said micro usb cellular thumb drive) - then I'd almost certainly have one of each.. as they have different strengths. ...There's no way however, that I'm up for swapping sims and thereby losing lots functionality in the de-simmed phone (or tbh inactivating the phone in most cases), or paying for 3 mobile contracts..

as for modular screens, camera units, main cpus doesn't sound like it can be done both 'slickly' AND 'cheaply' / 'affordably' .

I'd prefer just my modular 'ipod'-plus-'plugin-tiny-iphone-unit' idea.

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