Last month, Motorola announced its plans to release a modular smartphone called Project Ara, and today it took a huge step forward thanks to a multi-year deal between the Google-owned smartphone maker and 3D printing company 3D Systems. The two companies will work together to create interchangeable parts for the futuristic handset, which could launch as soon as this winter as a Module Developers Kit (MDK).
As part of the deal, 3D Systems is expected to develop what company CEO Avi Reichental calls the “factory of the future,” drastically expanding its capabilities to build a high-speed 3D printing platform that runs continuously. The company’s new contract with Motorola gives it the opportunity to become its exclusive parts supplier for Project Ara, but only if it can meet the smartphone maker’s demands.
Speaking of demands, we’ll need to watch how consumers react to the idea of modular smartphones. The idea is great on paper, though execution and the release of multiple flavors of modules will be key to the success. We wonder how long it will be before big tech firms such as Google, Apple and others start snatching up these companies.