Moto Z: No Headphone Jack But Snap-Ons for Audio, Video, Power
Starting this summer, Motorola plans to launch two new smartphones that can be magnetically paired with a variety of "mods" such as audio speakers, image projectors and battery boosters. It has also kicked off a Moto Mods Developer Program to support developers who want to build other new mods for the phones.
Unveiled at Lenovo's Tech World event in San Francisco (Motorola Mobility was acquired by Lenovo in 2014), the Moto Z and Moto Z Force (pictured above) Android smartphones are "definitely a game-changing product," chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing said during his keynote address. "Now your phone is not just your phone. Your phone can transform into whatever you want it to be."
Available in U.S. This Summer
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, the Moto Z features a 5.5-inch HD AMOLED display and measures just 5.2 millimeters in thickness. The Moto Z Force is similar, but also adds ShatterShield technology for an unbreakable screen and TurboPower charging that can provide up to 15 hours of battery life in 15 minutes of charging.
Neither phone will offer the standard 3.5-millimeter headphone jack found on most other devices (the iPhone 7 is also reported to have dropped the audio jack in favor of its proprietary Lightning connector). However, each phone will feature a USB-C port that can support audio output, data transfers and charging, and will also come with a 3.5-millimeter-to-USB-C headphone port adaptor.
In the U.S., both devices are set to hit the market this summer exclusively through Verizon under the names Moto Z Droid Edition and Moto Z Force Droid Edition. Mods for those phones will also become available at that time.
Both devices and mods will arrive on the global market in September, and unlocked versions in the U.S. will go on sale sometime in the fall, according to Motorola. No pricing has yet been announced.
'Taking Personalization to a New Level'
The first mods to become available with the new smartphones are: SoundBoost, a snap-on speaker from JBL; the Moto Insta-Share Projector, which turns the phones into 70-inch movie and image projectors; and a Power Pack that adds 22 hours of battery life. The Power Pack will come in a variety of designs created by Kate Spade New York, Tumi and Incipio to start.
All the mods will connect instantly to Moto Z devices via 16 "magic dots" on the backs of the smartphones, Yuanqing said. Those dots enable users to attach and detach various mods to their phones without having to power down or remove the backs of their devices. "These dots change the way you think about using the smartphone," Yuanqing said.
"We are taking personalization to a whole new level," said Seang Chau, senior vice president of software engineering for Motorola. "The possibilities with Moto Mods are infinite."
In addition to launching the Moto Mods Developer Program, Lenovo is also making available $1 million in equity funding for individuals or companies that create the best mod prototypes by March 31 of next year. The seed funding "to spur innovation" is being offered through the Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group.