Friday , October 20 2017

MotoMods, today and into the future

2016-06-10 04_26_24-Lenovo Tech World 2016 – Live from San Francisco (June 9th) - YouTube

The time of modular smartphone accessories is upon us. LG kicked off the trend with their LG Friends, and today Lenovo presented to the world their vision of this swappable future. I have to admit, Lenovo’s take on modular is better in my book.

The MotoMods are easily attached using simple magnets, are hot-swappable, allowing you to swap them without needing to restart or half dismantle your device and forward compatible with future Moto Z devices, assuming there are any (bit of a technicality that). In addition, Lenovo has opened up the Mod platform to 3rd party developers, just like LG, to extend the range of available mods into the future.

At launch, there are 3 Mods and a range of Moto Style Shells. 

Insta-Share Projector

The Moto Instant-Share Projector Mod is a pico projector jammed into a backplate along with a dedicated 1100mAh battery that brings up to an hour of additional projection with it. The Mod will project a 70″ screen, and utilising the built-in stand can be positioned anywhere, on a wall to your roof. The module includes a keystone feature to ensure you always get that perfect rectangular viewing experience.

The mod weighs 120g and adds an extra 11mm on to the Moto Z. The projector can output up to 854 x 480 at 50 lumens of brightness, so don’t expect to be watching your 4K content on this thing (at least not without some downscaling).

JBL Soundboost

The JBL Soundboost provides a pair of 27mm 3W speakers to the back of your phone. With an integrated kickstand and a 1000mAh additional battery you’ll get you to 10 hours of playtime out of one charge, before dipping into the phone’s internal battery (which is good because at 2020 mAH it’s not the largest capacity around).

The speaker weighs in at 145 g (more than the phone itself) and adds 13mm of thickness. The device charges via its integrated USB-C connector and can double as a speakerphone for calls.

Incipio offGRID Power Pack

Need an extra 2200 mAh of battery life to go along with the 2600 mAh coming on eh Moto Z heading down under? Yes, then this is the mod for you. But wait there’s more, the Incipio comes in both a USB and Wireless charging variant with both QI and PMA standards supported, that’s just fantastic.

The USB model adds an extra 79g to the device whilst the Qi model packs an extra 85g, both add a 6.2mm to the z-axis.

Style Shells

The Style Shells is a fancy name for the Moto Z’s swappable back plates. They come in a wide range of materials, textures and fabrics including real wood, leather and fabric.

Enter 3rd party developers

Lenovo also announced a $1mil prize for the developer who releases the best MotoMod prototype by 31 March 2017. The competition will be judged by a panel of Lenovo’s top Exec as well as their celebrity ambassador, Ashton Kutcher.

More details on the competition can be found at the Motorola developer site.

How do these Mods look to you? Do they make you want the Moto Z more? Let us know below.

 

Duncan Jaffrey   Journalist

Duncan has been interested in technology since coding "Mary had a little Lamb" in Basic on his ZX Spectrum. A fan of all things Android, most days you'll find Duncan trawling the web for Android news or quietly editing away on Map Maker.

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5 Comments on "MotoMods, today and into the future"

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Will Dutton
Valued Guest
Will Dutton

i’d be tempted by this, I really like the modular phone idea.

Fred
Valued Guest
Fred
The projector weighs over a kilogram?!! Frankly you can get a pico projector with roughly those specs for $70, and I’ll bet that lump is much more. The speakers are more reasonable, but again it’s debatable if they will stack up against one of the small portable bluetooth speakers (particularly in price). The only thing that makes sense is the battery pack. However 2200mAh is about the same as one of those AA battery based recharge packs, or thin card power banks – which cost ~$10 ‘Hot swap’ gives the game away. These aren’t modular permanent additions to the phone… Read more »
Daniel Tyson
Ausdroid Manager

Definitely not – 120g. Fixed that mistake. Cheers.

In terms of utility, the hot swap nature and the magnetic attachment, it’s a killer. Quality of the speakers is great, the projector was cool, but price is key. The battery pack that snaps on so you’re not holding a separate battery pack is the best feature.

Fred
Valued Guest
Fred

Thing is, since they are so chunky, they are going to be inside jacket pocket items, rather than back jeans pocket. So snap on is less valuable (and I bet they don’t stay connected in a pocket).

That speaker is US$80, so over a hundred here. Given the pathetic battery, the add on battery pack will be a necessity, but I bet it won’t be $10, or be possible to trust it remaining connected in a pocket.

Personally I like the idea of modular phones, but none of them seem to really nail the use cases.

Daniel Tyson
Ausdroid Manager

You’re completely wrong on whether the battery pack will remain connected in a pocket, the magnetic snap on/off is excellent.

Out of the two of us, I am the only one who has actually handled the device and mods, so I think I have some knowledge here.

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