Remember Phonebloks and how we all had a good laugh about how unworkable and idealistic it was? It turns out Motorola has been working on a similar project for the last year, and it's called Project Ara. This is really happening.

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Here's what Ara is, according to Motorola:

The design for Project Ara consists of what we call an endoskeleton (endo) and modules.  The endo is the structural frame that holds all the modules in place. A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter--or something not yet thought of!

Motorola isn't just taking the Phonebloks vision and running with it. The company will be working with Phonebloks and its developer community to make a modular phone possible. Motorola will soon start seeking input from so-called Ara Scouts to help the Google subsidiary shape the future of Project Ara. In a few months, Motorola will begin inviting developers to design modules for the Ara platform – a Module Developer's Kit (MDK) could be ready as soon as this winter.

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It almost goes without saying, but if Motorola (with Google's backing) can make this work, it's going to be an honest-to-goodness revolution in the smartphone industry. Want a better camera, but don't need much storage? You can spend big on the image sensor and cheap-out on the NAND. Speaker in your phone busted? Just disconnect it and add a new module. Rather than buy a whole new phone, you could simply upgrade the parts you want.

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It's also worth noting the crowd-sourced "Thunderclap" campaign for Phonebloks is happening in about 9 hours. So, the timing here seems very convenient. This idea sounds insane, but maybe it has a real shot now.

[Motorola Blog, Ara Scouts]