Friday, June 10, 2016

Motorola and Lenovo release the Moto Z and Moto Z Force modular smartphones

Lenovo and Motorola just unveiled the Moto Z, along with Moto Z Force and Moto Z DROID Edition models. As expected, these are the ultra thin modular phones that have leaked a couple of times in recent weeks.

The Moto Z is the standard model, while the Moto Z Force has a shatterproof display. There are DROID Edition versions as well.

Each phone sports a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB RAM, 32/64GB storage, and can utilize Moto Mods. The regular Moto Z is impossibly thin (5.19mm) and holds a 2600mAh battery, while the Moto Z Force weighs in a 6.99mm and has a 3500mAh battery. The Moto Z has a 13MP f/1.8 camera with OIS and laser autofocus, while the Force has a 21MP f/1.8 camera with OIS, laser autofocus, and phase detection autofocus. Both cameras have 1.12 micro pixels.

With the Moto Z and Moto Z Force (along with their DROID Edition variants) now official, you are probably wondering how and when you can get one. Well, I have really sh*tty news on that front, unfortunately. Why? Because Motorola went the exclusive route to start. Yep, ready to hear about this?

The Moto Z and Moto Z Force will first arrive in the US as DROID Edition exclusive phones for Verizon this summer. If you aren’t a Verizon customers, you’ll be able to buy the Moto Z later in the fall. You’ll notice I only mentioned the Moto Z and that’s because the Moto Z Force, with its shatterproof display, is a Verizon exclusive completely.

In somewhat decent news, the Moto Z will be released as an unlocked phone in the fall, though we aren’t sure how unlocked it’ll be, meaning, we aren’t sure if it’ll be as unlocked as a Nexus or the Moto X Pure Edition, with connectivity on all major networks.

If you are a global Moto Z fan, you can expect a launch in September.

The Moto Mods that snap on the backs of the Moto Z will be available at the same time they launch on Verizon.

The big selling feature for the new Moto Z and Moto Z Force is being pushed as the modularity of each phone, where Motorola will look to extend the style and functionality of each by selling you modules, called Moto Mods.

So far, we know that we can expect Moto Maker options for Moto Mods called Style Shells that can add a pop of color, texture (leather, wood, nylon, etc.), and personality to your phone. But outside of the Shells, we we will see Moto Mods including a speaker from JBL that can extend battery life by up to 10 hours, a Moto Insta-Share projector for turning any surface into a 70-inch screen, and an Incipio offGRID power pack that can give you up to 22 hours of extra battery life.

Moto Mods connect via “really strong magnets” and can be slapped right onto the back of a phone. They take the form of really thin or thick cases/backplates.  Moto Mods and Style Shells will be available at launch this summer.

Notice anything specifically interesting with that image above of the Moto Z Force, at least in terms of its audio experience? If you recognized that it has no headphone jack, then you my friend, win a prize today.

So how does that work, you might be wondering?

Well, both the Moto Z and Force have USB Type-C ports, so their audio-out happens through those. Each phone is releasing with a special USB Type-C-to-3.5mm port adapter, so in order to use regular wired headphones with either device, you’ll need to have that adapter handy.

Keep in mind that USB Type-C headphones are coming soon, like these from JBL. So at some point, you’ll just be able to buy headphones that will plug directly into the phone and you won’t need that adapter.

This may be somewhat of a nuisance at first, but I get the feeling that with Apple on the verge of ditching the headphone jack as well, that this may be the future, or at the very least, the beginning of the end for 3.5mm ports.

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