I've recently taken note of the design of certain ARM boards, with the ARM chip(s) and RAM on a minimal module (search on ebay for "arm development board", and add in "display", as boards with displays are quite interesting and useful).
Definitely check out the STM32 boards.
Something which could even be used by hobbyists if you want to scale down your project a lot (instead of snapping those ports on your Pi ^^).
I've not been sufficiently focused when it comes to these new boards. I've been too focused on the Raspi-like models, with everything on one board.
But the more modular the board, the better for hobbyists (as long as you don't break away the processor from the RAM and have to make such low-level connections yourself, or such things).
As even the most modular boards, like Arduino and it's shields and small modules can still be put neatly in a frame/box.
But if you have a small cybernetic factory, you could get the minimal ARM boards from China, making the ports and the rest yourself.
Who wouldn't want to see such start-ups, making Linux phones/devices...?
I think these small modules are actually a more feasable way of modularizing smartphone technology, than Phonebloks / Project Ara (though they are doing great work).
As the layout of modules in the device aren't limited -- nor as prone to modules falling out when you drop it.
And you could still have user-accessible modules, especially for choosing your own camera.
As even for Project Ara, they would need the basic modular tehnology worked out, and having it done directly by miniturization and computing enthusiasts would be more productive.
So instead of just a modular phone, you can also make a modular brain-board for a robot, or for a server, or whatever.
But for modularization to gain some direct use, it will have to be for a development board (which is already being done, of course). Or the modules would have to be very plug-and-play, yet easily attached to a solid frame -- like modules having pegs, and a plastic box with holes, for them.
Pretty much like lego.
And then you could have aluminium pegs and box, for heat-dissipation and electric grounding / EMC isolation.
Definitely no soldering -- I like thinking/tinkering about/with electronics, but soldering is an unnecessary pain.
This way I also see the rise in adoption of totally open hardware devices, for things like routers, wifi repeaters/routers, and other essential things.
And all supplied by just 5 volts.
I think this is something that needs doing. To get the next generation properly educated about technology -- instead of just seeing devices as a whole. And something to just hand over to the experts once it breaks. But there won't be many experts if we just have walled gardens everywhere, where you can't even educate yourself about your device.
It's highly liberating on so many levels. But there is a lot of work to be done.
Well, I have much to learn and think about yet, but I really wanted to get this out there.
For now, I'm excited to just get an ARM development board with a display, to transfer most of my development and other computing to it!
A 7' display is good enough -- if you have a good GUI.
Getting my feet plenty wet in ARM is a good start, to be able to work with more modular systems in the future.
Minimal computing FTW!