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Moto Z announcement brings new take on modules

The Moto Z, leaked in patent nomenclature¬†(that was also confirmed by a renown leakster) and in a few photos, is now official. Motorola and Lenovo unveiled the new flagship yesterday, in San Francisco (as the leaked poster indicated). The device itself features typical 2016 high-end specs: a 5.5-inch, Quad HD AMOLED display (2,560 x 1,440p), a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, Turbo charging (Motorola’s take on fast charging), with a 21MP back camera, laser autofocus, and OIS (optical image stabilization).

There was nothing on the specs end to impress, apart from the fact that these Moto Z specs are standard for this year, but the company intended to make a bigger splash elsewhere. Yes, Motorola took yet another page out of LG’s playbook and decided to introduce its own take on the modular arena — with accessories that “snap” onto the back of the device without having to take out your battery, pop it back in, and then reconnect a piece of the bottom of the phone. Motorola calls these modular attachments “MotoMods,” and the company showed us a few that will be available as soon as the Moto Z launches: an InstaShare Projector with an additional in-built battery that lets you use the Projector for 1 hour before your phone battery starts draining, a JBL audio speaker boost/kickstand that lets you sit your phone on any flat surface and provides up to 10 hours of battery life, and a Power Pack that provides additional battery life. There’ll be other MotoMods available, but we won’t see them until this summer, according to the company. Summer’s almost here, so it might be July at the earliest before anyone sees them.

At any rate, we don’t have word on the pricing of these MotoMods, and we don’t have word on the pricing of the Z smartphone. Alongside of the Moto Z, Motorola and Lenovo unveiled the Moto Z Force, a device that has a shattershield, shatter-resistant display that makes for one rugged smartphone. Interestingly enough, the Moto Z Force has a 3,600mAh battery (far higher than the 2,600mAh battery of the Moto Z) but lacks water and dust resistance — which would have made the Moto Z Force a top contender against Samsung’s newly-announced Galaxy S7 Active.

Ashton Kutcher made his appearance at the Z and Z Force announcement to discuss the MotoMods and the MotoMods Developer Program, whereby developers can make modules and the best module design will lead to a $1 million award for the lucky developer. Motorola, as is the case with LG, will need developer support to make it happen. LG has had few modules beyond the basic ones available, so Motorola could overtake LG in this area, too (not just hardware design).

These new devices will be available this summer, with the Z and Z Force being Verizon exclusives in the US before other carriers get them. Unfortunately, the Z and Z Force’s exclusivity with Verizon means that carriers like Sprint or US Cellular may not ever see the devices, since Motorola intends to make unlocked smartphones (but these only work with GSM carriers AT&T and T-Mobile). These other carriers could still get them, though, but we’ll have to wait to find out more.

At this point, a lot of variables are up in the air, but you can take a look at photos from the announcement below. Do you plan on picking up the Moto Z or Moto Z Force?

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