Lenovo and Motorola (formerly Moto formerly Motorola) haven’t given up on the modular phone idea, even when its peers have and even when the market doesn’t seem to be that enthusiastic about it. In a few months’ time, however, we might be thankful it didn’t either. While the initial set of Moto Mods for the Moto Z family have been less than inspiring, save for a one or two exceptions, others outside of Motorola’s offices may have better ideas, some of which have found their way to Indiegogo to make those ideas real.
Lenovo and Motorola themselves kicked off the drive to find such “bright ideas” in its Transform the Smartphone Challenge made in partnership with Indiegogo. Unlike most crowdfunding projects, the goal isn’t simply to just get funded and make a product but to also pitch the idea to Motorola for a possible bigger investment. Naturally, there are quite a few pitches, but some are already rising to be crowdfunding favorites.
For example, the Physical Keyboard Mod reported before has finally launched on Indiegogo. It hasn’t been 48 hours yet but it has managed to raise almost a fifth of the $100 goal. An early bird pledge costs $60 while the most expensive limited edition climbs up to $200. In addition to offering a slider keyboard, the Mod can also tilt the Moto Z to make for a better viewing and typing angle.
A favorite mod seems to be game pad mods that turn the Moto Z into a makeshift Switch. Unlike the Switch, you don’t have to detach the controllers at the side. Instead, CLIKI Play’s controls slide in and out from under the Moto Z. This also makes it possible to still use the camera without having to remove the Mod, thought it does look a bit awkward.
A different take on the game pad idea is Game Z that makes the Moto Z look like a Nintendo DS instead (we’re starting to see a pattern). The clamshell form might make it a bit bulkier and harder to use as a normal phone but it is arguably more comfortable to hold.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are other Moto Mods that aim to serve niche markets, like sensors for turning the phone into a portable laboratory, an old-school walkie talkie, or even a barcode scanner. While some of these can be done using Bluetooth accessories, having a physical connection with the device means you won’t have to worry about weak signals and interference. Mods are also mostly thinner and hot-swappable, allowing you to choose the right Mod for the right occasion.