Google may have just sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, but it seems the giant may have kept one of the manufacturer's juiciest pieces (besides patents) to itself.

According to Pocket-lint, Lenovo has confirmed that Google will be keeping Moto's Advanced Technology and Projects group, notably responsible for Project Ara, the modular phone project announced in October in collaboration with Phonebloks, and other experimental ventures.


The team, led by former DARPA Director Regina Dugan is said by the Verge to be heading to Google's Android team, reporting to Sundar Pichai. Readers may remember seeing other Motorola experiments during an interview with Dugan at last May's D11 conference, including electronic authentication tattoos and microchip-toting pills. According to the Verge, these projects - like Ara - will continue with Google's backing in the new arrangement, and while Google will retain relevant patents, "Lenovo will have a license to them."

Source: the Verge, Pocket-lint

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Frederico Silva

    More 'relieved' now..

    • Dominic Powell

      Personally I would be more "relieved" if some of the software team that worked on the Moto X's special features moved to the android/chrome team as well - specifically people like Michelle Gattuso and Punit Soni (Not sure how I feel about Dennis Woodside, although he is Mich more personable and a better orator than Sundar Pichai).

      It would be super nice as well if Google made a public commitment to Ara or something like it.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Anything is possible, I'd say

  • senor_heisenberg

    This is great news.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Android 4.5 Changelog:
    - Active Display
    - Always Listening
    - New Gallery App
    - Google officially launches Project ARA, the smartphone revolution starts today

    • Frederico Silva

      Active display & listening? Only if the N6 comes with AMOLED & dedicated chip, otherwise it doesn't make sense..

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Well, why not? After all, now that Google has the patents from Moto - they gotta make use of them somehow

        Oh wait, aren't you from XDA? I think I used your ICS ROM on Desire S for some time

        • Frederico Silva

          Yeah I understood your point, but what I'm saying is that those 'features' aren't only software depended but also hardware. It needs hardware optimized for that sort of thing (eg. OLED display and X8 chip), otherwise it'll just waste precious battery..

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            I guess we'll see them, but probably only if Nexus 6 is made by Samsung again, I'm not sure if any other OEM uses AMOLED displays. And as for chip - N6 will have the latest hardware anyway, so I wouldn't worry about that

          • eccles11

            It is possible for the manufacturer to buy AMOLED screens from Samsung. The Nexus one had a Samsung AMOLED screen, even though it was a HTC device.

          • David Hart

            LG makes OLED as well, and Google seems to like LG making their Nexus. If they keep that relationship up then there's no reason why LG wouldn't bring their newer tech to their and Googles flagship

          • ScooterG

            Something tells me Lenovo might make a couple Nexus devices. I think Google wants to help Lenovo succeed so that Samsung becomes less dominant.

          • omegavesko

            The S800 already has the extra hardware required for active listening, it's just that no OEMs have made use of it (that I know of).

          • navjot

            Not sure about the other OEMs but the Note 3 does have active listening, it's just not advertised as heavily as the other features.

        • ddpacino

          They have them mainly as defense mechanisms for the likes of Apple that threaten Android with litigation.

  • Mauricio Andres Najera Osorio

    at least, a little good news...

  • Cesar

    At least Project Ara isn't dead. Gives me something to look forward to.

    • Mike Reid

      Not yet. I think Google will cancel it within 1-2 years.

      I would love to see it succeed. But I'm not seeing anyway for Google to make money on this within the next few years.

      And that IMO means cancellation, eventually.

      It still has value as a research project though, and maybe we hardware hackers will get some new "toys" to play with out of this.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        I think they are going to keep it for the future. As of now, it's too early to launch such a project

  • Nathan

    So... Google revived Motorola and now sells it to Lenovo to create a new big OEM to combat Samsung and it will be able to reach more users (in China) with lower-spec devices with the latest Android version? Like with the Moto G?

    • thartist

      At least we might still get some good quality inexpensive devices with the latest android version, that's IF Lenovo doesn't feel like screwing with Moto all over and let's them continue with their sane management.

      • Vinay N S

        Leonovo phones aren't that bad actually.. They also like MOTO concentrate on battery life a lot... Take away any ugly skins lenovo has and we may actually see some good phones...

      • Roger Siegenthaler

        Lenovo knows it can't afford to screw up a brand aquisition like Motorola, just like they managed to keep the ThinkPad brand up and running.

    • thartist

      At least we might still get some good quality inexpensive devices with the latest android version, that's IF Lenovo doesn't feel like screwing with Moto all over and let's them continue with their sane management.

  • http://sites.google.com/site/phoenix713/ Eddie

    This was the thing I was most worried about. It's good to know it's staying in Google's hands.

  • Nathan

    At least Google gets to keep the picture of the cat.

  • Evan Gilner

    I wonder what would've happened with Project Ara under Motorola if this Lenovo acquisition never happened...something tells me that its future isn't as bright in Google's hands (i.e probably will take longer to launch than before)

    • AbbyZFresh

      Spring Cleaning in 2016.

      • Matthew Fry

        Oh. Don't bring up that Google tradition. Now I'm sad.

  • Roger Siegenthaler

    Why is everyone here thinking that google can keep a project like this alive better then a hardware producer that has done modular systems (cough servers, laptops, etc.) for a long time... It actually doesn't make sense for this to be in google's hands further then google getting licensing fees from making modules "ara-compatible" later on...

  • blackk

    Ara sound good at first, but thinking about it more has me convinced that it won't succeed. The expectation from this project is for people to keep the same phone for at least 5 years and occasionally upgrade it. This ignores the fact that people get tired of looking at the same phone after 2 years and want to buy something that looks different. The Ara phone will remain a rectangular block. Unless they design various chassis that can be used interchangeably, the project won't have any market success.