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Google announces customisable smartphone

Graeme Parton

Motorola, which is owned by Google, is to launch a new smartphone that allows users to change components as  they wish.

As part of Project Ara, the company will sell basic phone modules which can be customised with additional keyboards, sensors and batteries, depending on how the owner intends on using it.

Motorola is thought to be working with Dave Hakkens, a designer from the Netherlands, on the new device. Hakkens is known for inventing Phoneblocks, another modular smartphone.

A number of experts have commented on the news, with many saying they’re unsure as to how the market will be affected by such an innovative new product.

Motorola said in a blog post that the project first started around a year ago. The firm also claimed that it wanted to create an exciting ecosystem for third-party developers, similar to that which exists around Google’s mobile operating system, Android.

It hopes to give users the power to control their phone fully, while deciding on what it’s made of, how durable it is, how it looks and, perhaps most importantly, how much it costs.

The new devices will comprise an “endoskeleton” – as Motorola called it – which will be used to hold a range of different modules in place. According to the company, these parts cover everything from new displays and application processors to extra batteries and pulse sensors.

It is thought that developers will be invited to begin building elements for the devices within the next few months, with a special development kit to be released soon afterwards.

The developments will no doubt close the gap between PCs and mobile devices even further. With users able to stay on top of the latest hardware developments without it costing the earth, we may even see an increase in the speed at which technology progresses.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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