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Project Ara: Motorola Promises To Revolutionize Smartphones

This smartphone could make fools out of the rest of the pack.

Ever since Dutch designer Dave Hakkens envisioned a phone that users would never have to throw away -- basically just adding and upgrading components themselves -- the dream has burned.

Imagine a basic phone-shaped circuit board, bristling with pins that you simply press various components into -- processor, memory, storage, a display and things we haven't even invented yet.

But so far, Hakkens' ingenious concept, dubbed Phonebloks, has yet to find its way to market.

And the potential saviour of landfills the world over has, so far, only appeared as little more than a saliva-inducing viral clip on YouTube.

Well, hello Moto.

With 'Project Ara,' Motorola looks primed to get in on the open-source game, unleashing the most brilliant smartphone yet -- one that we can actually hold onto.

With Ara, Motorola aims to accomplish with hardware what Google pulled off with its software platform, Android. That is, make it entirely open and user-upgradable.

It's no coincidence, of course, that Google snatched up the phone manufacturer for as hefty $12.5 billion back in 2011. Nor is it a coincidence that Ara rings of internet darling Phonebloks.

Motorola's official blog notes that the company has been in touch with Hakkens, claiming they "share a common vision" -- although the two handsets appear to be approaching the market independently.

Project Ara is designed to be a “free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones,” Motorola writes in its blog.

The goal? "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.”

And the real question. When do we get to play cyber-Lego?

The company claims to have completed the technical side of things-- and is now inviting people to sign up for its 'scout' program to get an early eye on the workings of Ara -- with plans to send out a kit of developers, called a Module Developer Kit (MDK) this winter.

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