Google, much to the dismay of eager hopefuls, threw in the towel for Project Ara, its modular phone concept. If Google had been successful in overcoming the challenges that came with the development, it could have been a groundbreaking innovation that will allow a seamless exchange and replacement of different modules in our phones.
The next best thing, if we won't see Project Ara come to life ever, is Motorola's Moto Mods, which are essentially accessories for the Moto Z. They are snap-on peripherals that connect to the back of the device using strong magnets. You can attach these on a Moto Z, Moto Z Force or a Moto Z Play.
However, these peripherals go beyond a cosmetic purpose. These are nifty little add-ons that can be attached to give the device an added functionality such as an extra battery pack, high-end speakers, or even a Hasselblad True Zoom to amp up one's mobile photography skills.
Moto has released a video showcasing the different types of Moto Mods currently available, while also portraying a no-frills, intuitive attaching mechanism of the accessories to the Moto Z device. The video is beautifully animated, with the accessories starting out as their bulkier, real-life counterparts and then disintegrating fluidly, molting into a tiny, sleek peripheral that latches on the back of the Moto Z.
The concept behind Moto Mods is fairly simple, yet it speaks volumes about the possibilities still untapped with smartphone technology. Smartphones have grown rapidly in such a short amount of time. They've gone from simple messaging and communication devices into dedicated technological companions that allow for productivity and innovation. It's no doubt that Moto Mods represent the willingness of manufacturers to push the mobile platform to uncharted territory.
With Moto Mods, Motorola has revived hope for the realization of a modular smartphone. While groundbreakingly innovative as they come, phones are limited to what manufacturers decide for them to have. Consumers are basically stuck with what they bought, unable to transform or swap out features for better ones should the need arise. Moto Mods, while not marketed heavily as a modular phone, is a nod to a semblance of that functionality, which is simply, being able to add accessories and extra features on a smartphone.
Motorola recently released a developer kit for the Moto Mods, giving everyone the chance to come up with their own accessories. Each developer kit includes a mod that adds dual speakers, a short-throw projector, and a battery pack. A kit will also come with a Reference Moto Mod, which is a processor that will act as a jump off point for more savvy third-party developers who wish to create their own modules.