Google to retain Motorola’s Advanced Technology unit and Project Ara

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Google might have sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, but the Mountain View company has announced that it will be keeping Project Ara.

According to a report by Verge, Project Ara team will be integrated with Google’s Android team and also reveals that Motorola Advanced Technology and Projects group led by Regina Dugan will now be reporting to Sundar Pichai.

Motorola announced Project Ara in October last year, as a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones.

Motorola has been working on Project Ara for more than a year and it also teamed up with Phonebloks, an open source project that has also been working on creating modular smartphone components that can be easily replaced.

The Project Ara design scheme comprises of what Google calls an endoskeleton (endo) and modules. The endo is the structural frame that holds all the modules in place, while a module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter or some other customisable hardware unit.

Earlier on Thursday, Lenovo Group agreed to buy Google’s Motorola handset division for $2.91 billion, which is said to give the Chinese major a big push in a heavily competitive US handset market dominated by Apple. Notably, under this deal, the Mountain View giant will keep the majority of Motorola’s mobile patents, which are considered its prize assets. Google’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Page even revealed that company would be best served by focusing on smartphone software rather than devices.

With Motorola’s acquisition, Lenovo will receive over 2,000 ‘patent assets’ as part of the transaction, however, it remains to be seen whether they might be subject to extra scrutiny from regulators.

For Motorola, Lenovo would be paying $660 million in cash, $750 million in Lenovo ordinary shares, and another $1.5 billion in the form of a three-year promissory note.


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