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Google gets custody of Motorola’s awesome modular phone project

Published Jan 30th, 2014 11:34AM EST
Motorola Project Ara Modular Phone
Image: Motorola

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Not all of Motorola’s assets will move to Lenovo following Google’s surprising sale of the former cell phone giant. Google will keep a large part of the Motorola patent treasure chest it purchased, and it will also get custody of the Advanced Technology and Project groups inside Motorola that’s led by former DARPA director Regina Dugan – that’s the division that manages the Project Ara modular phone initiative and other interesting products.

Dugan and her team of under 100 people will move to Google’s Android division, The Verge has learned, and report to Sundar Pichai, although it will have a “more independent role.”

Project Ara is a smartphone’s lover wet dream for now, a smartphone that would allow the user to keep swapping components and upgrade the device in a similar fashion PCs can be upgraded – but a lot easier. Such a smartphone would offer additional customization options to buyers in the future than the simple cosmetic handset personalization Motorola’s Moto Maker offers Moto X buyers. Even so, it’s not clear whether Google will ever launch a Project Ara handset in the future.

Other interesting products that Dugan’s team has worked on include tattoos that can be used for log in purposes and pills that can be ingested and powered by the stomach to turn the “user” into a password, and these are only products the company publicly discussed at last year’s D11 conference.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.