Earlier today at the Lenovo World Conference, the company announced the new Moto Z family, which consists of two devices. There’s the Moto Z, a 5.19mm thin, high end device based around a 5.5-inch QHD display panel, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 System-on-Chip backed up by 4 GB of RAM, a 12 MP rear camera, a 2,600 mAh battery, and a USB Type-C port for the audio and perhaps most exciting, the Moto Mods add-on expansion port. The larger Moto Z Force comes complete with a 21MP rear camera, a larger battery, a thicker chassis and the same Moto Mods expansion slot. What, then, is the Moto Mods expansion? And how are Motorola opening up the platform to third party devleopers?
Essentially, Motorola’s designers have incorporated a modular design element into the Moto Z models. The two Moto Z devices have sixteen pin magnets mounted onto the back of each device, which are designed to connect an accessory unit to the back. These consist of hot-swappable accessories, which plug into the Moto Z and provide additional functionality. Motorola go into some detail as to the Moto Mods available at launch, which include the Insta-Share Projector: this can project what’s on the Moto Z screen onto a nearby screen or wall to make it as large as 70-inches. There’s a JBL SoundBoost speaker available, which comes with a kickstand, making the Moto Z something of a media powerhouse, and Motorola are also discussing the Incipio offGRID power pack, which is claimed can offer another twenty two hours of battery life. There is the tantalizing promise of more modules to follow but Motorola does not want to simply be producing these by itself. Instead, Motorola is opening up the Moto Mods platform for designers to develop and release their own add-ons.
Motorola’s promotional video discusses how the Moto Mods development platform can be used by individuals or companies to test their ideas. Motorola believe that the Moto Mods is a game changing new technology, available to home electronics enthusiasts through to corporate businesses. Developers can build a custom board or use existing technology products such as the Raspberry Pi. Motorola are trying to do to the Moto Z hardware, what the Apple App Store and Google Play Store have achieved for software. Whilst the company has a long way to go before the Moto Mods standard is accepted across the industry, Motorola has promised that the Moto Mods hardware built for the 2016 handset will be compatible for the next generation model, which should give customers some comfort. It’s an exciting way to allow customers to bring with them the exact functionality that they need, or should they wish to travel 5.19mm light, to simply bring the handset.