Lenovo introduces a variety of Moto back cover modules to expand mobile phone functions

Lenovo has launched two Moto Z smartphones, and there is nothing extraordinary about it from the perspective of the phone.

Lenovo introduces a variety of Moto back cover modules to expand mobile phone functions

The two mobile phones are beautifully designed, the camera is powerful, the processor is fast, and the fingerprint recognition is supported. Unfortunately, there is no killer function to lure users, let them give up Apple, Samsung, and choose themselves. After all, the high-end market is controlled by Samsung Apple. Lenovo claims that Moto Z is the thinnest high-end mobile phone in the world, but this advantage may not last long, and the phone sacrifices the headphone jack. The waterproof display installed by Moto Z Force is quite unique, and the large-capacity battery is only comparable to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Moto Z is priced at $624 and Moto Z Force is priced at $730. If you are willing to spend a little more money, you can have a better choice: buy a different back cover, Lenovo calls it "Moto Mods", the back cover module can be expanded The function of the phone. Modules add some unique features to mobile phones that cannot be directly embedded in mobile phones, such as medium-performance speakers, projectors, and larger batteries.

I spent a few weeks trying out the Verizon Droid EdiTIon version of Moto Z and Moto Z Force. After the trial, I supported the modular concept and hoped it would succeed. If you want to make the phone module a success, Lenovo needs to stick to it.

Moto module

Each Moto module is magnetically connected to the back cover of the Moto Z phone, which can be wrapped around the camera that protrudes from the phone. There is a string of pins under each module panel to transmit data and power. If there is no connection, the phone will inform the user. The magnetic force is very strong. If it is just vibration, the module will not fall off the mobile phone. There is a small slit under the module, and the module can be used to drop the module.

When the mobile phone went on the market, Lenovo provided three modules for users to choose. One is the JBL SoundBoost Speaker, which costs $80. It's a stereo speaker with a built-in stand. The audio quality is between the poor smartphone speakers and the standalone Bluetooth speakers, and there is insufficient response and depth in the bass. The speaker is a bit cumbersome. After all, the battery is installed inside and it can last for 10 hours. We may not use such speakers during the party. It is good if you just listen to music, make a phone call or watch a video.

The Insta-Share Projector, which costs $300, is a projector that can deliver images up to 70 inches. The module also has a stand, which is useful if we want to cast the image on the ceiling instead of the wall. The projector is not particularly bright, and the built-in battery lasts for one hour. It will make a loud sound when used. If you use it in a dark room before going to bed, putting the image on the ceiling is better than TV.

Another module is the Offgrid Power Pack, which costs $60 from Incipio. It is a 2200 mAh battery module that extends the phone's battery life by 22 hours and supports wireless charging. The Offgrid Power Pack is very practical, but has one obvious drawback: the battery itself lacks a charging interface, and if it is to be charged, it can only be connected to the phone. That is to say, if we are not at home, take the phone with you and cannot charge the module at home. The other two modules have a USB-C interface that can be charged independently.

When we don't use the module, we can expose the back cover with gold connector feet on it. We can also cover it with Style Shell accessories. The material can be wood, leather or fabric. The Style Shell accessory is somewhat similar to the previous Moto Maker project, which allows the user to customize the back cover, buttons and speaker grille.

Overall, the first Moto modules are unique. I have more chances to use the battery, because the speakers and projectors are only used in certain environments, and most of the time there is no need to install them, because it is too bulky.

Lenovo introduces a variety of Moto back cover modules to expand mobile phone functions

Stick to it

Compared with the first generation Moto Mods, we may be more concerned about another question: Can the mobile phone module be broken in the future? In addition to providing the module itself, Lenovo also launched the Moto Mods Developer Kit, which allows anyone to develop modules. Lenovo has provided some development samples, including a temperature sensor and a second screen controller (possibly controlling the electronic ink screen). Lenovo also said that Hasselblad is developing a camera module. I would like to have a company that can develop a car magnetic connector, a flip-top physical keyboard, or a MIDI keyboard for musicians. Low-cost, energy-free modules may also have a market, such as wallet covers or simple brackets.

Before the concept of modularity really rises, Lenovo may first prove to the world that it will support it for a long time. Android companies seldom insist, they always test some unique concepts and don't take long to abandon them.

Give some examples:

——In 2011, the Motorola ATTix mobile phone was released. This mobile phone is equipped with a notebook docking station, which can run a web browser and a smartphone app through the docking station. At the beginning, Motorola announced that it would promote the technology on new hardware, but it was abandoned in 2012.

——In 2014, HTC released One (M8) and installed a dual-lens camera. After taking the photo, the user can adjust the focus. HTC has announced that it will release the SDK and let third-party apps use new features. After trying it once, HTC abandoned this feature. It is said that the iPhone will also use dual lenses this year or next year.

——In 2014, Samsung released Note Edge. In the curved part of the display, the mobile phone will display the multitasking menu without interruption, and the developer can make the menu. In 2015, Samsung introduced the Galaxy S6 Edge. This feature disappeared. The curved part of the S6 Edge screen can only display some information plug-ins.

——The Padfone series of mobile phones launched by ASUS can be connected to the flat-panel display through the docking station, but the display screen of the docking station is very small. Asus finally gave up the idea and has not released new products in 2 years.

-- In 2011, Kyocera developed the dual-screen smartphone Echo, which even provided a developer toolkit to APP developers to optimize the software. APP developers are not enthusiastic, and Kyocera has never launched a new dual-screen phone.

At the time, some of these products didn't work well, and the ideas didn't look so good. The problem was here. Sometimes we need to try a few times to optimize the ideas and create a truly successful product. Many times, Android manufacturers are not confident and can't keep going.

Fortunately, Lenovo seems to have confidence in modular components.

Lenovo has publicly stated that it will continue to support Moto Mods in the next two hardware cycles, including new phones in 2017 and 2018. It can be seen that Lenovo has made a big bet. Not only that, in the next nine months, Lenovo will invest $1 million through its Capital and Incubator Group to support corporate or individual development modules.

Look at LG, the G5 is also a modular mobile phone, and there is no commitment to the future smartphone LG. Although the company launched a developer project, LG did not provide any financial support.

It seems that Lenovo likes "long-distance running". However, Lenovo still has the possibility to give up this idea. If the Mods module can't be sold, in addition to providing the first batch of funds, Lenovo may not continue to invest in support. Next, developers will stop developing the package, and Lenovo will no longer introduce new modules. The concept of the module is slowly moving away. Once this happens, Lenovo will return to the old road and continue to sell phones that are not very good, and the risk is much smaller.

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