What if you could build your own phone just like you can a computer? Imagine if you could just swap out your processor for a newer model without having to upgrade your entire device. That’s the reality Motorola is trying to create with its new Project Ara initiative.

Announced on Oct. 28, Project Ara is a plan to create an open hardware ecosystem that can support third-party development for individual components. Motorola likened the idea to the highly customizable Android operating system, saying that it wants to “do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software.” [Top 10 Cases for Apple iPhone 5s and 5c]

 
Motorola will be collaborating with Phonebloks for the project, which recently revealed its own concept for modular smartphone design. The modules could include anything from a new processor or display to a pulse oximeter or an extra-large battery. The Droid-maker says it plans to collaborate with the Phonebloks community for insight into the modular smartphone space.
 
The design is comprised of the phone’s exoskeleton and various modules that “can be anything” according to Motorola. The company cited examples such as a new keyboard or battery. Motorola is reaching out to developers for collaboration and expects the developers kit to be released in its alpha stage by the winter.
 
Phonebloks has been around for quite some time, but this is the first time a major smartphone manufacturer is on board with such an idea. Motorola appears to be delving even further into the customization-centric smartphone approach introduced with the Moto X. This is not the first time Motorola has used the term Aura in relation to a modular phone. Around 2009, the company dreamed up something similar to this idea that never made it to fruition. 
 
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This story was originally written for LAPTOP and was republished with permission here. Copyright 2013 LAPTOP, a TechMediaNetwork company.