LEGO Type Bricks for Smartphones: Enter the Modular Mobile Hardware

LEGO Type Bricks for Smartphones: Enter the Modular Mobile Hardware

Our last post on brand new development on Internet of Things was Smart Roads for Smart Transportation. Now it’s time for some very exciting developments in Smartphone industry. There is something that is making news in Smartphone world, after Android or Tizen or Ubuntu on phones etc. Yes it is Open Source and modular, and have huge potentials for third-party developer ecosystem. But, no it’s not another new mobile operating system or any kind of Software. It’s about Hardware! Enter the age of highly modular Smartphone blocks. This is like Lego Bricks for Smartphones. This cool idea was recently presented by Phonebloks project initiative.

Also the Advanced Technology and Projects group in Motorola (which in turn is a Google company now) have recently published news about Project Ara. This projects will create open hardware platforms with highly modular blocks for building Smartphone. This will be perfect for letting the developers and customers choose and optimize the Smartphone blocks or components, only which ones they need. For long time the consumers and developers have been bound to the fixed Smartphone models and their fixed hardware. But every person, every user has a little different lifestyle, a little different usage needs for Smartphone. Some may need larger and better camera with larger memory storage, while some may need larger battery with basic camera or storage. Project Ara is a bold step towards achieving such.


According to the official Motorola Blog, the main goal of Project Ara 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”.

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The hardware design will have two component types: an endo-skeleton and various modules. The endo-skeleton (also called as endo) is the main electronic frame or structure, holding together and connecting the various detachable modules. The modules will host various utilities on a Smartphone, like: various processors,  displays, batteries, sensors, wireless communication devices etc.


According to Motorola,  the Module Developer’s Kit (MDK) for the developers will be released sometime in the next few months to come. Motorola is calling the community and enthusiasts to sign up to contribute by being what they call, an Ara Scout. Sign up link is here. Following is what happens after sign up:

  • Participants will receive monthly email about opportunities to share photos, ideas and commentary about Project Ara’s topics of concern.
  • Next there will be free dscout mobile app for Android, iPhone and other phones also. Users of the app will perform some “mission” tasks for completion.
  •  The dscout app help in sharing photos, ideas and commentary with the Project Ara core team.

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