Lenovo is the latest player to step into the modular smartphone segment with the introduction of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force at the Lenovo Tech World 2016. The Z series replaces the flagship Moto X line and offers simple yet impressive modular add-ons.
The Moto Z is being dubbed the thinnest premium smartphone in the world, at 5.2mm and offers 'Moto Mods' which are essentially detachable add-on back panels that serve different purposes like they incorporate a JBL SoundBoost speaker or a Moto Insta-Share Projector that can deliver a 70in viewing experience. There is also an add-on Power Pack that claims to provide up to 22 hours of additional battery life.
In addition to this interchangeable style shells in materials wood, leather and fabric will also be available.
The modular approach to the series is being dubbed as Lenovo's strategy to break the mould in a saturated smartphone market and offer something innovative and futuristic to look forward to. The modular path is however, not entirely new as LG G5 introduced at the MWC 2016 this year also showed us detachable parts. Apart from that Google is also rumoured to be working on its modular phone project called Ara.
As for the devices launched, the Moto Z features a 5.5in QHD Amoled display, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC coupled with 4GB RAM, and comes in two variants of 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. There is also a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera with a wide angle lens, and front flash coupled with the fingerprint sensor, which we will see on every Motorola device from now on.
The Moto Z Force is a slightly higher variant of the Moto Z with a better rear camera at 21MP and larger 3500mAh battery life. This model also entails the second generation of "Moto Shatter Shield" which is an unbreakable plastic screen cover. However, The Z Force is a little thicker than the regular Z. Both models are compatible with the 'Moto Mods' modular accessory system, which are magnetic attachments connecting to 16 pogo pins on the back of the device.
Interestingly, the company has omitted the 3.5mm headphone jack going in line with what Apple is rumoured to do with the unreleased iPhone 7. It is not certain at this point whether these accessories will come along with the phone with an in-built price, or will they have to be purchased separately.
The availability of the phone could be a little disappointing as it does not start retailing until September. Only US consumers are the lucky ones as both the devices – Moto Z Droid and the Moto Z Force Droid – will be available this summer exclusively from Verizon. The unlocked variants could also be released soon in US.
In rest of the regions, including UK and Europe, the devices would be released in fall. There is no information about the cost of the phones as yet.