While Lenovo will take ownership of Motorola Mobility, Google has actually kept one of the most interesting pieces of Motorola in this deal. The Advanced Technology and Projects group, headed by former DARPA Director Regina Dugan, is going to stay with Google.
The most public-facing product from this division is the modular phone known as Project Ara. First announced back in October, Project Ara will allow customers to add modules to a base endoskeleton, meaning that you can spec your phone out exactly as you wish and presumably update a single component if you choose to later. It’s unlikely that this hardware is going to be available anytime soon, but Motorola did indicate in an interview with TechnoBuffalo at CES that more information on the project would be coming in the next few months. Whether that’s still the case now that it is being consumed by Google proper is unknown. The quote from the Ara team back when they first announced the project is telling, though, and certainly makes it sound like Google is a better home for it than a traditional manufacturer.
We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines.MotorolaProject Ara announcement post
Project Ara is hardly the only thing that this group is working on. They have also mentioned work on electronic tattoos that could take the place of passwords as well as sensor-embedded pills that run on stomach acid. Sounds like a perfect fit for the Google[x] team that’s working on contact lenses that detect glucose levels.
While we are fans of Motorola’s consumer-oriented efforts and hope to see Lenovo grow that side, it is nice to see this forward-looking division of Motorola find a home in Google that will likely allow it a greater freedom to foster innovation than would’ve been possible under Lenovo.