Motorola’s Skunkworks Team Will Stay At Google

Project Ara

Project Ara

Google shocked us all on Wednesday when it announced that it had sold Motorola to Lenovo less than two years after it was acquired, but the search giant is holding onto certain parts of the company.

Not only will it keep the vast majority of Motorola’s massive patent portfolio, but it’s also maintaing a firm grip on the Advanced Technology and Projects group, which is responsible for the Project Ara modular phone.

For those unfamiliar with Project Ara, it’s a smartphone that aims to be as flexible and as customizable as a home-built PC. Its components are removable and users can upgrade and replace them as they see fit, so if they want to add more RAM, a faster processor, or a bigger battery, they can do so — ideally at a reasonable price.

The Advanced Technology and Projects group is headed up by former DARPA director Regina Dugan, and according Lenovo, it’s going to become part of Google’s Android division. Dugan will report to Android head Sundar Pichai, and his team of 100 people will relocate from their offices in Sunnyvale to Google’s campus in Mountain View.

The Verge reports that Google’s plan is to use its power and resources to accelerate Project Ara and the groups other “wild ideas” and finally make them available to consumers. That’s hugely exciting news for us, because it means modular smartphones may soon be a reality — and who doesn’t want a smartphone that’s upgradable?