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This article was published on October 29, 2013

Motorola announces Ara, an open hardware project to create customizable smartphones

Motorola announces Ara, an open hardware project to create customizable smartphones
Jon Russell
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Jon Russell

Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.

If you thought Motorola and its Moto X Maker helped you customize a unique smartphone, then prepare for even more. The Google-owned company has just announced Ara, a hardware platform that is entirely open to customization — essentially letting tinkerers develop their own 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,” Motorola said in a blog post (via Android Police), which explains this is an advancement of its Sticky make-a-thon initiative.

Motorola says it will begin inviting developers to create modules for the ambitious project in a few months, while it is working with Dave Hakkens, the creator of Phonebloks, and the Phonebloks community to explore the possibilities of fully customizable smartphones.

“Our goal is to drive a more thoughtful, expressive, and open relationship between users, developers, and their phones. To give you the power to decide what your phone does, how it looks, where and what it’s made of, how much it costs, and how long you’ll keep it.”

Project Ara includes endos and modules. Modules are the creative sparks — be it a processor, battery or keyboard — while endos keep the device held together and give it form — here are some examples:

Images via Google