Motorola’s Project Ara and Advanced Technology Group to stay with Google

Project Ara Built Phone

“We’ll keep that….don’t need those….let’s hold on to this….they can have that….” These were possibly the words of Larry Page and co. as they sorted through the Google box of Motorola goodies and not-so-goodies prior to offering the company to Lenovo.

The deal, which is expected to go through once it gets approval from US and Chinese authorities, will cost Lenovo $2.91 billion, nearly $10 billion less than what the Web giant paid for it back in 2011.

But no, Google isn’t handing everything over. The company said in a statement Wednesday it’d be holding on to “the vast majority” of Motorola’s patents that it says it’ll use “to defend the entire Android ecosystem.”


A conference call between the two companies following the announcement of the deal also revealed that Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group (ATAP) will be integrated into Google’s Android team, currently led by Sundar Pichai.

Headed by former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency director Regina Dugan, ATAP is responsible for working on a number of what you might call ‘outlandish’ initiatives, among them electronic ‘password’ tattoos and authentication pills. A little bit more middle-of-the-road and apparently making real progress is Project Ara, its modular smartphone concept.

Project Ara first hit the headlines in October last year, when Motorola announced plans “to develop a phone platform that is modular, open, customizable, and made for the entire world.”

The device, which is thought to be at the very least a year away from launch, will let users choose which components to add to a smartphone ‘skeleton’, depending on how they tend to use their handset. So, for example, those who operate mostly in the cloud could put in a bigger battery and go with less storage space.

The idea is that it will also prevent waste, with users able to replace damaged components like a cracked screen or ruined battery instead of ditching the entire phone when part of it fails.

The last we heard from Motorola on Project Ara was in December when its CEO said a prototype should be coming “in the near future.”

Of course, with Wednesday’s major news regarding Lenovo, and Google reportedly taking control of the team behind Project Ara, who knows when its phone will finally get a release, though with Google’s mighty resources behind it, perhaps it’ll turn out to be a little earlier than expected.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

These patent images may show the new Moto Razr folding phone

The Motorola Razr V3 is one of the world's most iconic phones, and it could be making a stylistic return in the form of a foldable Motorola smartphone -- but it may cost around $1,500. Is the nostalgia worth it?

Do these Geekbench results accurately represent the Moto G7?

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Product Review

It may be basic, but the TicWatch E2 is all the smartwatch you need

Want a smartwatch that can track heart rate, has GPS, and interact with notifications — for cheap? Mobvoi’s Google Wear OS-based TicWatch E2 can do it all, for just $160.

Mobvoi’s TicWatch E2 and S2 are the most affordable Wear OS smartwatches yet

Quality smartwatches don't have to be expensive, and Mobvoi's TicWatch is the proud paladin of that philosophy. Mobvoi's new TicWatch S2 and are both available for low prices from Amazon and Mobvoi's website.
Product Review

Honor schools other phone makers on design with the hole-punch View 20

The Honor View 20 is Honor’s best phone to date. Why? Just look at the punch hole screen, the striking design, and the exciting 48-megapixel camera for evidence. Here’s our review.

Save up to $950 with the best smartphone deals for January 2019

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $950.

With weeklong battery life, the new Honor Watches are a real Dream to wear

Honor has unveiled the new Honor View 20, one of the best smartphones of the year. Alongside it, however, the company also took the wraps off of the new Honor Watch Magic and Honor Watch Dream.

2019's 10 best dating apps to help you find the perfect companion

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.

Moschino glams up the 48-megapixel Honor View 20 at Paris launch

After its success with the View 10 in 2018, Honor has announced its sequel, the Honor View 20 with an entirely new type of display which has a hole-punch for the camera rather than a notch.

Embrace your inner Dr. Frankenstein with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and this cool app

Ever wanted to make your favorite toy come alive? If so, and you have a Huawei Mate 20 Pro, then you need to grab the 3D Live Maker app and try out some augmented reality magic. Here's how to use it.

Photograph your meal with the Foodvisor app for caloric, nutritional estimates

Many of us understand the importance of a healthy diet, but counting calories and diving into nutritional data is a lot of work. The Foodvisor app for Android or iOS gives you a calorific and nutritional breakdown of your food from a photo.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus photo leaks with dual front-facing camera

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.