MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. tech giant Google has announced it plans to offer $50 customizable modular phones -- that users can modify themselves -- by early next year.
Google confirmed ongoing work on Project Ara, an effort to create phones that can be easily updated by users by switching parts in an out of the phones like Lego blocks, Time magazine reported.
The project of Motorola's Advanced Technology and Projects group -- which Google sold to Lenovo for nearly $3 billion in January -- has been retained by Google for further work.
A working prototype could be completed within the next few weeks, Google told Time, and modular phones could be in the ands of consumers by the first quarter of 2015.
The devices will utilize a permanent backbone, to be sold by Google, to which different modules created by outside developers can be attached.
"The question was basically, could we do for hardware what Android and other platforms have done for software?" project leader Paul Eremenko told Time. "Which means lower the barrier to entry to such a degree that you could have tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of developers as opposed to just five or six big [manufacturers] that could participate in the hardware space."