Motorola joined the short list of companies launching or planning smartphones that can be upgraded and customized via optional modules, joining LG’s recently launched premium G5 and Google’s planned Project Ara phone scheduled for a 2017 launch.
Modularity is coming to smartphones as a way for supplier to differentiate their products and gain share in a slow-growth market.
Two Moto Z Droid phones, due in the summer exclusively for Verizon Wireless, accept Moto Mods back covers that magnetically snap onto the phones to add high-power stereo speakers, a pico projector, and Tumi and Kate Spade New York power packs for on-the-go recharging.
These initial add-ons will be followed by other modules, which will be developed in cooperation with other leading brands, Motorola said.
Motorola will also release a Moto Mod development kit so that small developers and large companies can create additional Mods. Moto Mods developed today will be designed to work with future generations of Moto Z phones, the company promised.
The phones will also be available unlocked, Motorola said. Phone and Mods pricing weren’t released.
Here’s what the first four Mods offer.
JBL SoundBoost speaker: It features stereo speakers, built-in kickstand and built-in battery for 10 hours of playback time.
Moto Insta-Share projector: The pico projector with integrated kickstand displays pictures and movies up to 70 inches. It comes with built-in one-hour battery to extend the phones’ battery life.
Tumi and Kate Spade New York power packs: These designed battery packs add up to 22 hours of battery life to the phones and allows for recharging without having to run a USB cable to an outboard battery pack.
Jeff Dietel, Verizon’s VP of wireless devices, called the devices “something entirely new that would inspire customers to get excited about smartphones again.”
Phone features: The two phones are the Moto Z Droid Edition and Moto Z Force Droid Edition.
The Moto Z Droid Edition is described as the thinnest premium smartphone available today. The Moto Z Force Droid Edition steps up to a second-generation shatter- and crack-proof ShatterShield display, bigger battery to extend battery life to more than a full day, faster charging, and better camera.
Both feature 5.5-inch Quad HD display, 64-bit 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 32GB storage, 2TB microSD card slot, main camera with optical image stabilization and autofocus, USB-C port, water-repellant coating and fingerprint reader.
The Moto Z Droid Edition also features aircraft-grade aluminum and stainless-steel all-metal body, 2,600 mAh battery for all-day use, 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, turbo charger that delivers up to eight hours of power after a 15-minute charge, and a water-resistant nano coating to protect against moderate water exposure such as spills, splashes and light rain.
The Moto Z Force Droid Edition steps up to a second-gen ShatterShield display that sports narrower edges and a thinner design, faster TurboPower charger to deliver 15 hours of battery life after a 15-minute charge, a 3,500 mAh batter to extend life beyond a day and a 21-megapixel main camera.
The Moto Z Droid Edition will be available in black/gray and white/gold versions, and the Moto Z Force Droid Edition will be available in black/gray.
They will be available for preorder in July at VerizonWireless.com/landingpages/droid/.