Google’s Project Ara is based on the idea that phone owners should be able to mix-and-match components to build the phone they want to own, rather than accept whatever it is that phone makers think people want.  Google, along with Motorola, was the first to introduce modular smartphones. Or were they?
Back in 2013, Dutch designer Dave Hakkens started a project on the crowd funding site, Kickstarter. He called it ‘Phonebloks’. Batteries, cameras, memory and other hardware components of the Phonebloks project would come in the form of interchangeable blocks that could be used in a variety of ways. If you want more battery life for longer phone conversations, you can opt for a larger battery; if you want to carry a lot of music, photos and videos, you can opt for more memory. Here is the official Phonebloks video that went viral.
“Led by Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, Project Ara is developing a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones,” reads the description on Motorola’s official blog.
Though it may seem like theft of intellectual property rights, Google had announced its partnership with Phonebloks in October 2013. They said that they were working for a year on a project named Project Ara, “a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones,” which will allow users to develop, swap and replace modules for their phones to create customized handsets. The official partners page of Phonebloks says, “Google is developing their version of a modular phone; Project Ara. By turning the phone into a canvas so that your phone does exactly what you want it to do, and looks you way you want it to be. They are aiming to create a phone for all the 5 billion people on Earth that haven’t got a smartphone yet.”
“We’ve been working on Project Ara for over a year. Recently, we met Dave Hakkens, the creator of Phonebloks. Turns out we share a common vision: to develop a phone platform that is modular, open, customizable, and made for the entire world. We’ve done deep technical work. Dave created a community. The power of open requires both. So we will be working on Project Ara in the open, engaging with the Phonebloks community throughout our development process,” reads the blog.
We are awaiting Ara’s launch in Puerto Rico this year.
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