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3D Systems and Motorola Team Up To Deliver Customizable 3D Printed Smartphones 12

MojoKid writes "Motorola is forging ahead with the concept of modular, customizable smartphones first put forth by designer Dave Hakkens with his Phonebloks concept. The company said recently that it was officially pursuing such an idea with Project Ara, and Motorola is already putting together important partnerships to make it happen. 3D Systems, a maker of 3D printers and other related products, has signed on to create a 'continuous high-speed 3D printing production platform and fulfillment system' for it. In other words, 3D Systems is going to print parts for the project, and what's more, the company has what appears to be an exclusive agreement to make all the enclosures and modules for Project Ara."
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3D Systems and Motorola Team Up To Deliver Customizable 3D Printed Smartphones

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  • Just in case this isn't patented, I hereby create and release unto the world the idea of 3D printing custom covers, casings, designs, shrouds, and every manner of item, structural or facade or otherwise, as a feature of a product, including downloading and sharing of predesigned or customer-designed pieces, including the process of individualization such as engravings, monograms, and flourishes.

    I don't want to have to pay extra or wait 27 or 22 years to use his obvious engineering and business process.

    • to use "this", not "his".

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      they'll patent but add some "connected to cloud" to it, so there.

      it's not an exactly new idea actually - and arguably your pc is prior art, this is just smaller.

      but what I would see making sense would be to have one soc-card that actually had all the radios, the soc, memory, antennas etc, and then as another part of the equation different shells - and have a small ultracapacitor or something on the soc card so that it would stay connected on it's own for a little while(and a little led that could signal if

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Saturday November 23, 2013 @02:13PM (#45501707)

    I'm hoping that this concept can give phones that would be nice, but not intended for for the lowest common denominator. For example, it would be nice to have a decent landscape slider (the old Motorola Droid for example) with a quality hardware keyboard, and since sliders don't have to be extremely thin, this would allow for a better battery, higher resolution camera, or perhaps a decent amount of storage as well as a MicroSD card in an easy to insert place (so it would be easy to swap cards for nandroid backups.)

    Of course, unlocked bootloaders go without saying.

    • Hope what works? This looks like it's going to be limited to a customized case (you can have all the funny little bumps and squiggles and colors you want). I don't see this as enabling a slide out keyboard on a phone that isn't designed for same. You just can't mix and match random bits of electronics - you have to pass CE / UI / FCC and bog-knows-who-else certifications. Unless the manufacturer wants to create a modular whatzit (which they can do at present but don't seem to be much interested in) you

      • by ahem ( 174666 )
        Maybe this could allow for different form factor customizations. Think about how the phone part that requires FCC certification is a small brick completely encased in the equivalent of faraday cage except for where the external antenna plugs in. Then, this mechanism could create whatever kind of case/IO devices/instruments/ports/plugins where the comm brick just sits inside. Then you can have a slideout and a standard ribbon cable connects it, and this slide out sits on the bottom of a chassis that also ho
    • I'd like to see this succeed too but I'm not counting on it. For starters, it's going to be really difficult to make the blocks with the connectors to connect to other blocks and everything and that the result is not an ugly, bulky phone. Make no mistake, looks are important in the smartphone market. In addition, don't count either on having a microSD holder module: Motorola is now part of Google and the big G is pushing hard for the cloud and against microSD cards. To sum up, an interesting idea that I'd l
  • We've had stickers and such for decades. What we really need is a fully open-source phone hardware device, drivers and all. Sure, we've supposedly got Firefox OS working on that, but I've yet to see that they haven't taken the functionality and gone off the rails like their browser. As it stands, even my N900 can't fully get away from the binary blobs. I haven't a clue what I'm going to do when it finally dies.

    Like the crowd-funded Truecrypt verification project, we need full access to the internals of our

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