Can Moto X be a successful modular smartphone?
Smartphone companies these days are following the trend of introducing multiple handsets at one time. Continuing with last year’s tradition, Motorola plans to introduce two variants of its flagship device, the Moto X in 2016. This year’s big innovation is the modular design, a trend that Project Ara spurred and LG visualized in the G5.
The current leaks were published on the Google+ account of “hellomotoHK” and are in accordance to the image we got back in December. Here's what the alleged Moto X 2016 would look like and there are not one, but two variants.
The smartphone on the right is “Vector Thin” and the one on the left is called “Vertex.” These are internal names for the devices. In the images, the phones are almost similar with only noticeable difference in thickness. The Vector Thin is 5.2mm thin, while the Vertex is 7mm. Last year's Moto X came in at 11.1mm, while the Galaxy S7 stands at 7.9mm.
The major differences are internal though. Both are expected to house Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the Vector Thin would have the latest Snapdragon 820, while the Vertex would have Snapdragon 625. The RAM and storage options would also differ in both devices.
The powerful sibling is said to have 3 and 4GB variants, along with base storage of 32GB. The Vertex would house 16GB with 3 and 2GB RAM options; 2GB sounds quite outdated though. The display size is the same at 5.5-inch for both smartphones. Camera specifications are also different. The Vector Thin is expected to have a 13MP sensor compared to Vertex’s 16MP sensor.
The odd bit, however, is that the powerful sibling that packs a slim profile comes at the cost of battery life. Rumors put the Vector’s battery at 2,600mAh, while Vertex’s battery is expected to be a 3,500mAh cell. If that turns out to be the case, then the elder sibling would run into a lot of battery problems considering all major powerful flagship devices now touch the 3,000mAh barrier.
The solution to the battery life issue may lie with the 16 holes, as seen in the image. Some claim them to be speakers, but they are speculated to be connector pins for modular backplates. This means that Motorola is stepping into the modular phone era and might possibly be the second company to introduce a working modular smartphone, the first one being LG with its G5.
The connector pins are supposed to help snap and secure backplates called “Amps” by the folks at Motorola. These amps include an extended battery pack, a projector, stereo speakers, a camera grip with flash and optical zoom, and a wide-angle lens. There are six amps in total expected to be released at the launch with a color backplate that ships with the devices free of charge.
What's different this year around with Motorola smartphones is that they might aim for a physical home button after all. The Moto X has never had a physical home button and if the image is actually an accurate description of the smartphone, then this will be a first for the Moto X 2016.
LG’s experimentation with modular design is both being praised and critiqued. To some it seems that the design department didn’t work with the engineering guys to find a way for the modules to be more of an extension rather than look awkward.
We think that Lenovo is finally comfortable with experimenting with Motorola and stretching it a bit far; it might debut the device during Lenovo Tech World slated for June 9. Products from Lenovo will also be there along with possibly Lenovo’s first Project Tango device in collaboration with Google. There hasn’t been any speculation on the price or availability, but we think Lenovo might clear the air come June 9.
The main question is can Motorola Moto X 2016 pull off a successful modular smartphone? Can it beat LG G5 despite the fact that the Korean company has the first mover advantage? Keep in mind that this is all based on speculation and rumors and must be taken with a grain of salt.