Moto Z gets Alexa Moto Mod and Gamepad add-on

Motorola's main focus at MWC 2017 might be the new Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus, but it's not leaving the Moto Z out. The modular Android smartphone is getting a whole host of new Moto Mods, running the gamut from fairly practical power improvements to more unusual options, like adding Amazon's Alexa to your existing phone. There's also additions for gaming, too.

The Moto Power Pack has a 50-percent larger battery than what you'd find in the Moto Z ordinarily, despite leaving the phone no larger than normal. An "efficiency mode" automatically picks when is best to charge the phone's internal battery, to make sure you're not shortening its lifespan with unnecessary cycles. It'll sell in March, priced at $49.

The Turbo Power Moto Mod, meanwhile, will have an even larger external battery for those demanding more runtime from their Moto Z. Arguably more interesting is the new wireless charging Moto Mod, which will integrate support for cutting the cord when used with a compatible pad. There'll be a new charging adapter, too.

Later in the year, meanwhile, there'll be an Amazon Alexa Moto Mod. That will basically strap Amazon's virtual assistant to the back of your Moto Z, allowing you to interact – whether that's ask questions, order products, or trigger smart home connected devices – by speaking to Alexa. Motorola hasn't said how much its Alexa Moto Mod will cost, but it did confirm that further down the line future handsets from the company will have Alexa built-in by default.

Finally, there's a Gamepad Moto Mod. Due this summer, it'll not only have physical controls for gaming, like a D-pad and A/B/X/Y cluster, along with shoulder buttons, but an integrated battery for longer play-times. It also gets its own storage, and will come preloaded with games. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.

Although modularity once seemed like it was going to be The Next Big Thing in smartphones, few companies have actually stuck with the concept – or even released the phones that were planned, such as Google's aborted Ara. LG is the most recent firm to abandon the idea, with its new LG G6 dropping the interchangeable modules of its G5 predecessor, in favor of a sealed metal and glass casing that can be waterproof and support wireless charging natively. Motorola gets some credit, then, for not only embracing the modular form-factor but sticking with it.