Putting the Pieces Together of Motorola Project Ara


If you’re an Android fanatic like me, you want all the cool features you can pack into your device. We all have our favorite applications to run all sorts of tasks, or to play games with. There are everyone’s favorite apps that can do almost anything, and then there is Motorola Project Ara.

By now you’ve probably heard of the ingenious idea, using modules to build and upgrade your device. Whether you first heard of Motorola’s innovative Project Ara or Dave Hakkens’ PhoneBloks, the concept remains the same; create a completely modular device capable of swapping, upgrading, or rebuilding the device on the fly. So in the future you might not only sell your cell phone for cash to TechPayout, but you might sell separate components too.

What you may not have known is that the minds behind Ara have been polling consumers for information and ideas in a “Beta” program, and according to rumors flying around; the devices prototype is much closer than we thought. According to a Google Hangouts chat, leaked to TechRadar.com with Moto CEO Dennis Woodside, “There is a prototype, and it is pretty close.” This, of course, is not hard evidence that we may see it any time soon, but a glimmer of hope for those who wish to see this project succeed.

According to the Official Motorola Blog site, development of the device has been underway for well over a year, several prototype versions can be seen in the images supplied. Invitations to developers will be sent out in the coming months to begin development of the modules and they anticipate releasing a Module Development Kit (MDK) before the end of winter.

So why Project Ara? For me it’s all about customization. I want to build my device, have my own options and meet my own needs. How many times have you bought an item because it has at least one “can’t live without” feature, only to realize that you have other features that cannot be used? Can you say 4G LTE *cough,cough, Sprint…*?

If this feature is unavailable in my area, I’d like the option to replace that module with something else, like say… internal storage, or even another stick of RAM. Maybe I am absolutely in love with my device, but the video quality isn’t quite what I’d imagined; much like a PC we would have the option to replace that module with one of greater quality.

I think that the Project Ara line of devices is going to destroy all others when it comes barging out of the gates; and coupled with Android, these devices will be the dominant figure for the majority of smartphone sales.

Now, when I take a step back and look at it from a practical point of view, there are a lot of unanswered questions. Chief among these is “How will it keep clean?”

Where the device would be completely modular, there is the risk of contamination; dust may settle in the contacts of the modules, water may seep in, etc… Even the possibility of using rubber seals may not be enough to prevent catastrophe. The owner could remove or damage the seal; over compression can crush it, etc… There has been no official word on how they plan to solve this problem, or even if it’s been brought up. While this does make me a little cautious when it comes to using the device as a daily driver, I still can’t pass up the opportunity to get my hands on one and test it out.

Though there are no clues as to what OS these devices will run, I can only speculate that Motorola (now owned by Google) will take full advantage of the Android platform. The possibilities are endless with this concept, each device can tailored to the individual user; total customization, especially when paired with Android. Just imagine for a minute, you’re playing a game on your phone or tablet and it’s running a bit slow, graphics are choppy, whatever. Now imagine being able to just power your device off, swapping (or adding) modules to your device, turning it back on and having the power of a gaming PC in the palm of your hand.

If the masterminds behind Project Ara do this right, we could have portable nextgen gaming hardware, completely functional office programs, massively mobile photo editing software (PStouch, Adobe’s mobile Photoshop app, is nice, but imagine the full power of Photoshop on a phone or tablet). Of course there would need to be developers to make these programs run on the various platform OS’s; but as James Earl Jones said in Field of Dreams; “If you build it, they will come.”

What about you? What is a reason you’d participate in Project Ara?

By: Carl L

One Response

  1. Mykel McFalls December 28, 2013

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