Project Ara close to prototype status, and Motorola CEO suggests it could be sold through Moto Maker


When we first heard of Motorola’s Project Ara, a modular phone concept that would seemingly allow folks to upgrade different components of their phone independently of others, we were a little skeptical. It isn’t that we thought the idea wasn’t possible — technology proves that anything is possible as each year passes us by — but we didn’t wholly believe that we were close to seeing anything practical.

Thankfully, Dennis Woodside assures us that isn’t the case. In a Hangout session that the CEO did with prominent tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee, Woodside revealed that the team is close to producing its first prototype. The general public obviously won’t be able to get their hands on it, but a prototype means that we’d be one step closer to seeing this exciting idea become reality.

Of course, a prototype alone is no guarantee that the team is close to offering a consumer product, but what will happen when that time eventually comes? Woodside suggests Moto Maker could be the perfect destination for getting your phone made the way you want in more areas than design alone:

Ara is much further out, but you can see how those two things tie together and how, as we introduce new materials into Moto Maker, we’re going to pursue that theme across our product line going forward.

Imagine being able to craft your own smartphone. Perhaps the camera isn’t that important to you, so you opt for a cheaper 5 megapixel shooter instead of tricking it out with a 13 megapixel beast. And maybe that 32GB of storage isn’t enough, so you get a 64GB module that can also be expanded using a microSD card slot. And, well, who won’t want to spring for the most RAM and most powerful chipset they can get?


Dreaming aside, it’s a future that could soon be very real, and it’ll be extremely exciting to see what Motorola ends up coming with after the exhausting research and development process eventually brings us something tangible. Watch the full Hangout above.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. my next phone could very much be from this :D

  2. Oh well ill never purchase anything from anything named “moto”. Tell me when Google or HTC makes it and i can buy it from the Play Store.

    1. Kind of a silly attitude. You’re saying that even if the company rebuilds its reputation over the next ten years to where their devices are considered superior to everything else on the market and are also the best value, you’d never purchase one.

      Likewise, if Google were to retire the brand and slap the name Nexus on a Motorola phone despite having made no change to its policies and procedures, then you’d consider purchasing one?

    2. Surely you realize that Google doesn’t actually make any devices, yes? And surely you’ve read all the glowing reviews for the Moto X….yes?

      1. And surely you (OP) know who owns Moto?

    3. My sister won’t buy anything with HTC logo on it, thanks to Droid Eris. You remind me of her.

      1. WOW, talk about judging a company based of a HORRIBLE example. WOW. Does she judge microsoft off windows ME too? lol

    4. I bet you were one who also said “I’m not gonna buy any Samsung product” after the behold.. Am I right? (*) <

    5. I don’t like Motorola either. But, being an android fan, I’ll buy the best phone on the market. I don’t care who makes it.

      Note 3 user

    6. Google bought moto didnt they? So isnt moto tech google?

  3. What do they mean by modular? Is it just a case of creating a standard build format so that parts can be swapped during manufacturer or are they talking about making parts user swappable? I can’t see the latter since it’s likely to make the device larger (can’t squeeze components into every available space) and more prone to damage as people fiddle with the removeable parts.

    1. It’s the latter…swappable components after buying the phone. And while yes, it may add some bulk to the phone now, is this going to be THAT much bigger than some of the phablets some people carry around now? Even if so, it’s just a matter of time before things shrink down to acceptable sizes. What you have in your pocket now has more power than super computers (plural) that took up entire rooms in the 70s.

  4. I would hope there’s some way to easily swap parts. I want to be able to buy radios so I could theoretically move between AT&T, T-Moblie, or Verizon whenever I get tired of my current provider. If I can keep upgrading my phone, myself, I wouldn’t need a subsidized model ever again.

    I’d even be content to give up some size to make this possible.

    While they’re at it, offer tablet options, too.

    1. Just making the radios swappable would be a huge win.

  5. 3rd party parts FTW! That way I could get my SD micro slot, dammit! :D

  6. Super excited! We are probably 2 years from seeing something like this on the market though.

    1. I just got a new phone and renewed my contract for…2 years. So lets hope they can get it done by then.

  7. my only fear is battery life…i mean you can prob only change so many of those with battery…and i dont see any being really big enough to be a nice size battery…other than that i fkn love this idea n truly will take part when its available

  8. That video was shockingly interesting, worth the lengthy watch. Motorola is really in a transitional period where they control their own destiny, it could go either way.

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