Motorola has announced a new initiative to help Android phone users take handset customization beyond ringtones, wallpaper, and body colors to its very form and function. Motorola said in its blog post, “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 project plans to begin inviting developers to create modules for the platform in the coming months. It also expects to release an alpha version of a module developer’s kit this winter.
The Google-owned handset company on Monday announced Project Ara, a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smart phones. An endoskeleton, or structural frame, holds the smartphone modules of the owner's choice, such as a display, keyboard, or extra battery. The approach should allow users to swap out malfunctioning modules or upgrade as innovations emerge, providing a handset that stays up-to-date much longer than today's smart phones.
"Our goal is to drive a more thoughtful, expressive, and open relationship between users, developers, and their phones.” Over the summer, the company launched its Moto Maker service, which lets buyers of Moto X phones indulge their build-to-order desires, mixing and matching body and interface features including onboard memory, wallpaper, and front, back, and accent colors for the device's shell.