When Lenovo-owned Motorola launched a new modular designed Moto Z smartphone last year with Moto Mods, the company seemed really excited. With few initial partners onboard, it introduced some interesting Mods like the Hasselblad True Zoom, JBL Soundboost, and Moto Instashare projector Mod along with the phone. Although all this is still relatively new and not ready for masses, even then Lenovo is betting big on Mods, infact this year too with the Moto G5 and G5 Plus, it unveiled a few more Moto Mods at its MWC event in February. Furthermore, Motorola will introduce 12 new Moto Mods this year, which according to Sharay Shams, Lenovo’s General Manager for smartphones in Middle East, will remain compatible with upcoming Moto phones over the next three years.
Moto Mods Developer Platform
When Motorola opened up the Moto Mods Developer Platform for third-party developers, the idea was to provide Module Development Kit (MDK) to all developers with all essential tools that it uses to build these Mods, and it seems to be working for the company with developments like these – the Keyboard Moto Mod and recently there was one another interesting Alexa-powered Moto mod which can turn your Moto Z into an Amazon Echo.
Nokia Communicator: Landscape QWERTY physical keyboard phones
The landscape QWERTY physical keyboard phones disappeared from the market almost five years ago. These kind of phones used to be a rage and what best we all remember is the Nokia Communicator series of smartphones from that time. Even Motorola had the taste of it, the last Motorola sliding keyboard phone the DROID 4 XT894 was with Verizon in 2012.
The ‘Nokia Communicator’ was the business series smartphones from good old Nokia that had a QWERTY keyboard and a secondary landscape touch screen which use to open like a clamshell. The earlier 9000 series Communicators from 1996 introduced features which were further developed with Symbian and we got Nokia 9500 Communicator and the Nokia E90 Communicator.
Keyboard Moto Mod on Moto Z is your new age ‘Nokia Communicator’
The new Keyboard Mod snap-on accessory for Moto Z reminds us Nokia’s Communicator series phones. The snap-on accessory uses the Moto Mods platform to turn Moto Z into a five-row landscape QWERTY slider, something similar to Nokia Communicator, although it makes for a high-end landscape slider phone with modern-day specs, so you get best of both the worlds.
The successful crowdfunding goal of $100K
The Moto Z physical keyboard project have passed Indiegogo funding goal for $100K, it infact have raised more than $110K ($110,000) from over 1000 backers. The team of Keyboard Mod – Liangchen Chen and Arrow Electronics – is based in London.
Finished real prototype (with live images)
For product development, the team partnered with top-level engineers and designers. After the finished model design, technical aspects verification and structural design validation, it now has a finished prototype Keyboard Mod as well.
Now the next stage is ‘tooling’ for them and then build test samples to verify if everything works fine, and lastly of-course the various certifications to sell the mod. The final Keyboard Mod is estimated for June/ July timeframe.