Motorola CEO talks about Project Ara, wearable devices, and Moto X

December 6, 2013
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Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside sat down with YouTuber Marques Brownlee for an interview touching some interesting topics, from Motorola’s relation to Google, to the company’s plans for wearables, and the futuristic Project Ara.

Woodside reiterated that there’s still a firewall between Motorola and its corporate overlord in Mountain View, and that Google is more of an “investor”, rather than a close partner. For the smartphone maker, the biggest benefit of having Google’s backing is the freedom to think long term, without the pressure of turning an immediate profit. In this respect, the Moto X was “all Motorola”, said the executive, with Google having no contributions to it outside the financial support.

Motorola has already positioned itself as a forward-thinking company, following perhaps the example of Google, well-known for moonshot projects like balloon-powered internet and, most recently, actual robots. Project Ara is perhaps the most daring project undertaken by any mobile manufacturer right now (at least publicly). Woodside told Marques Brownlee that an advanced prototype is already finalized, but there are still many obstacles to overcome to make Ara/Phonebloks a reality, chiefly a universal interface that could work with speakers, cameras, and other components. For the project to take off, the support of component makers is also crucial, and in this area, a major problem is convincing partners to invest and sell directly to customers.

Woodside’s company is also interested in wearable devices — the exec hinted that Motorola is tinkering with smarter Bluetooth headsets and other types of devices, including a smartwatch.

For more details, watch the full video above; Dennis Woodside offers a few more interesting tidbits, including details on the KitKat update for the Moto G and the eventual launch of wood and other back cover materials for the Moto X.

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