Street Team: Motorola’s Project Ara

In case you missed the technology news this past week, Motorola teamed up with Dutch designer Dave Hakkens to create a new kind of phone. The following video came out earlier this summer, and it caused quite a commotion among technology lovers and phone manufacturers alike.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDAw7vW7H0c&w=320&h=240]

The concept “Lego” phone was just a figment of imagination for many, a Utopian phone that would never be mass-produced. That changed when Motorola, a Google-owned company, picked up the Phonebloks design for Project Ara.

“We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software – create a vibrant, third-party developer ecosystem,” the firm posted in a blog.

“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.”Through Project Ara, users will be able to customize a phone based on their wants and needs. Unlike phones on the market today, if you break your screen, wear out your battery or just decide you want an upgrade, you can keep your existing phone and update it with a new part.

There has still been a lot of negative feedback about the phone’s practicality and durability. (you can take a look at one of the main reddit thread about Phonebloks here: http://www.reddit.com/r/electronics/comments/1m4m0f/this_is_currently_on_the_front_page_a_good/). Some of the most common complaints have been that the phone will not have all of the features of a regular smartphone because there will be limited space for the blocks. For a regular smartphone, designers cram in all of the pieces and find the best way they fit together. Without this process, consumers would have to solve the jigsaw of compiling their technological needs onto a small space, not an easy feat! Users may have to sacrifice things in order to have the things they want. So while it may be practical to ditch your storage for more battery if you only use the cloud, you could not get more storage and more battery at the same time without sacrificing something else. The end-result may turn out to be a bulky, unstable, and unattractive.

Nevertheless, Motorola is launching a pilot-phone to gain feedback and create a Project Ara community. It will certainly be interesting to see just how the Google company executes this project. Experts predict they will be launching a developers kit sometime this winter, so be sure to keep an eye out for this environmentally conscious phone in the future!