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Verizon’s Droid Franchise A Little Less Exclusive

Verizon’s Droid franchise is losing a little bit of its exclusivity in the U.S. with yesterday’s launch of the latest Motorola-made Droid phones.

Verizon Wireless will be the exclusive U.S. carrier offering the modular Moto Z Droid Edition and Moto Z Force Droid Edition beginning in the summer. But in a departure, Lenovo’s Motorola unit will also offer one of the CDMA/LTE phones as an unlocked GSM/LTE model in the U.S. without the Droid name. It will be called the Moto Z and will be available in the fall in Motorola’s web store and through such retailers as Best Buy, Motorola told TWICE.

In the past, “the products marketed and sold as Verizon Droid models in the U.S. are sold under different brands and models in other regions of the world by Motorola,” said ABI research director Jeff Orr. Outside the U.S., for example, the Droid Turbo 2 was known as the Moto X Force, and the Droid Maxx 2 was the global variant of the Moto X Play.

The Z family phones 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. The Mods can be snapped on and off without turning the phones off.

These initial add-ons will be followed by other modules, which will be developed in cooperation with other leading brands, Motorola said.