Lenovo, which now owns Motorola, recently announced The New Moto Z Family with Moto Mods. The new Moto Mods are accessories like projectors, power banks, and vanity cases. They attach to the Moto Z and its ruggedized cousin, the Moto Z Force, via pogo-style connectors on the back of handset.
Lenovo, has used pogo connectors before in the ThinkPad Stack line of business travel accessories. They are a combination of very strong magnets and tiny round dots that establish a single power and data connection between circuits on the Mod and the phone—no USB cords necessary.
When you attach a Moto Mod to the Moto Z, the phone vibrates and you typically get some sort of notification on the screen. That ranges from a full-screen alert for the power pack, to subtle appearance of an extra battery percentage icon to tell you how much battery life remains in the built-in battery of the JBL SoundBoost.
The SoundBoost is perhaps the most impressive of the 3 initial Mods that Motorola had on display at Tech World. It’s a 6-watt stereo speaker that’s less than an inch thick, and though it can’t be replicate the highs and lows of a portable speaker like the Bose SoundLink $199.00 at Dell, it’s loud. Loud enough that I could hear it from the back of the crowded auditorium of the Expo and in the cacophonous demo room, where the multiple competing SoundBoosts were strutting their stuff.
Style Shells will also be available, and offer finishes like real wood, fabric, and leather. Like the other Mods, it includes a USB-C port to charge its built-in, ten-hour battery, though it will charge automatically when it’s connected to a plugged-in Moto Z. The speaker also looks good—it is less than an inch thick with a subtle curve on either end, and a slim red kickstand that folds out from the middle to prop up the phone. But perhaps it’s best feature is one it lacks: no cumbersome Bluetooth pairing. Once the magnets connect, you’re set to rock out.