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Motorola is increasing its edge with modular phones by adding new snap-on Mods to its Z model, enhancing capabilities to include a range of features. An array of modular magnetic snap-ons to Motorola’s Z phone, which enhances the device’s capabilities to include a projector, camera lens, and high-powered charger (via Motorola.com)

 

In an age where cell phones are falling in both price and reusability, the modular approach to capabilities taken by Motorola is refreshing. The idea is simple-modular phones allow for enhanced capabilities by adding more modules-in this case, Mods- that snap on to the back of a smartphone magnetically.

 

The modular component adds an additional feature while attached to the original device. So far, Motorola’s Z phone is leading the way with these features. Motorola claims that the Mods were designed with future generations of Moto Z’s in mind, so that if you buy a boombox feature or a lens feature for today’s current Moto Z, it will still work on the next model.

 

Additionally, to create each modular add-on, Motorola partnered with different industry leaders in design and engineering. The speaker Mod was created through a partnership with American electronics company JBL, and the camera Mod with optics company Hasselblad.

 

These are not merely gimmicks, but highly functional, high quality devices in their own right. As such, there are a few cons. Each Mod comes with its own battery, which charges independently of the smartphone. That means if you attach a Mod to a not-yet-fully charged Moto Z, and start charging, the juice first goes to the phone, then the Mod. It is possible to charge them separately, of course, but be aware that the Moto Mod system relies on battery power-and lots of it. That could be a reason why the latest Mod, a Mophie battery pack, came out recently. Providing 3,000mAh of power time, it clamps onto the phone as any other Mod, lengthening the time between charging. This feature is only another $80, and a carport feature, produced in partnership with Incipio, is only $65.

 

Motorola plans to produce even more Mods in 2017 than 2016, according to Moto Mods director John Touvannas. That has to make you wonder, what next? Are they going to invent needs we didn’t know we had, or come up with features that are actually useful? Possibly both. A call for solicitations from users resulted in some 380 pitches for new Mods, ranging from baby monitors to breathalyzers. If the Moto Mod team is able to take a new look at preexisting features, they could create enhanced features that offer something for everyone

 

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