During an event yesterday, Lenovo and Motorola unveiled the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force, two brand new handsets which allow users to attach modules to the device to further enhance its functionality.
These modules, or Moto Mods as they’re being called, offer various little upgrades to your device, from a speaker stand, to a projector, to a simple battery pack. These Moto Mods attach to the back of the device using magnets, and offer a snazzy new look, too.
In terms of the handsets, the Moto Z, the standard device, offers a 5.5-inch, quad HD AMOLED display and is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor accompanied by 4GB RAM. It’ll offer either 32 or 64GB storage, with an SD card expansion. It’ll also come packed with a 13-megapixel camera with an f/1.8 lens as well as optical image stabilisation. It’ll also come with a fingerprint scanner and a fairly small 2600mAh battery.
Interestingly, the Moto Z doesn’t actually offer a headphone jack, one of the many things rumoured to be omitted from the iPhone 7. In order to use traditional headphones, you’ll need to use the included adapter to plug headphones into the USB-C port, or grab yourself some Bluetooth headphones.
As for the Moto Z Force, it offers similar features to the standard Z, but offers a bigger 3500mAh battery, as well as a shatterproof panel on the display, and a 21-megapixel camera.
In terms of functionality, the Moto Z is pretty much your standard flagship affair. What really makes the Z standout however is the use of Moto Mods. These are connected using magnets and communicate using a series of pins located on the back of the device. In order for the pins to remain undamaged, Moto is releasing a single Style Shell Mod which each phone, but hopes customers will customise using a number of different materials such as nylon, wood, or leather.
As for the mods, the possibilities are endless, but for now there’s only a few to choose from. There’s a SoundBoost Mod, which is built in partnership with JBL, and offers better audio output with two three-watt drivers, and also comes with an additional 1,000mAh battery. There’s also a Power Pack mod which adds an additional 2,220mAh to the phone and comes in three different styles from Incipio, Kate Spade, and Tumi. Finally, there’s an Insta-Share Mod which ads a pico projector to the phone allowing you to broadcast your phone’s display up to 70-inches wide at 420p.
These mods can also be attached and removed on the fly, without needing to reboot the phone, which is a huge plus. The battery and projector modules work instantly, though the speaker will need pairing once attached.
What’s probably the most interesting thing about the Moto Z, is Moto’s commitment to the modules. Rather than having this as a one-off gimmick, the company plans to continue support with future Z phones, and is committing to the overall size and shape of the Z for at least two generations to ensure future compatibility.
As for other modules, the company does have a roadmap for future releases, but is also offering a development kit for third-party companies to also build Moto Mods. Lenovo’s Capital and Incubator Group is setting up a $1,000,000 fund for the individual or company that comes up with the best prototype Mod by March 31st, 2017.
In terms of availability, the Moto Z and Moto Z Force will be launching to Verizon first some time this Summer, then the devices will become widely available this fall unlocked in the US and the rest of the world.