Two new Moto X Android smartphone models, featuring replaceable, detachable modules that let users swap out components to gain features for different needs, are on their way from Lenovo's Moto division, according to recent rumors.
Three images that are purported to be the next as-yet-unannounced Moto X flagship models (pictured) were published on May 8 on the Google+ page of HelloMotoHK, while various details about the rumored phones were reported in a May 9 story by well-known news tipster Evan Blass on VentureBeat.
The upcoming all-metal Moto X handsets, which are being called the Vector Thin and the Vertex, both will reportedly include 5.5-inch AMOLED displays but will differ in many other specifications, wrote Blass, based on an interview with an unnamed source who is familiar with the phones.
The Vector Thin will reportedly include a quad HD resolution display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor that is "clocked at 2.4GHz instead of the stock 2.0GHz," while the Vertex will use a full HD display and run a "slightly lower-clocked version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 quad-core system-on-chip," according to the story. In addition, the higher-end Vector Thin will come with 32GB of storage and 3GB or 4GB of memory, while the Vertex will reportedly be sold in configurations including 16GB of storage and 2GB of memory or 32GB of storage and 3GB of memory, the story added.
The Vertex Thin will reportedly include a 16-megapixel main camera with laser-assisted and phase detection autofocus technologies, while the Vector will have a 13-megapixel autofocus main camera that includes optical image stabilization.
When the phones are unveiled, they will also be accompanied by "at least six modules" that Moto calls Amps, which can be attached to the backs of the phones by users to add and remove various functions as desired, the story continues. Other modules from third-party vendors are also expected. The first modules from Moto itself will reportedly include stereo speakers, a battery pack, a camera grip with flash and optical zoom, a pico projector and a rugged cover with wide angle lens attachment, the story reported.
LG's recently released LG G5 flagship smartphone also includes a modular design with removable components.
The Vector Thin will be about 0.20 inches thick, while the Vertex will be about 0.27 inches thick, the story reported. The Vector Thin will include a 2,600mAh battery, while the Vertex will feature a 3,500mAh battery.
It is not known officially when Lenovo plans to announce the rumored new Moto X handsets and their modules, but the company will hold its second annual Lenovo Tech World conference on June 9, where it will unveil new products and concepts in mobile devices, the Internet of things, virtual reality and other markets. This year's event will be held at The Masonic in San Francisco, after the company held its first such conference last year in China.
Among the topics on the agenda is "a new mobile technology designed by Motorola that will dramatically change the way people think about and use their most personal devices—in a snap," Lenovo announced in a statement about the event on May 9. That is likely referring to the rumored new Moto smartphone models, including their snap-on modules.
Lenovo is also expected at the event to launch the first consumer Project Tango-enabled smartphone in partnership with Google, bringing augmented reality capabilities to a handset, according to the company. Google's Project Tango was introduced in February 2014 as an initiative to compress current understandings about robotics and computer vision into a mobile phone, according to a past eWEEK article. The idea of the project is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion that will allow the devices to provide more data to users than is seen on a touch screen. Project Tango is designed to capture and track large amounts of data using 3D measurements to help make it possible using extra intelligence.
The Project Tango-enabled smartphone will give users new ways to experience the world—enabling them to map their way inside a museum or create a 3D gaming environment to visualize how a new refrigerator might fit into their kitchen.
Google sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo in 2014 for $2.9 billion, less than two years after Google itself had acquired the handset maker, according to earlier eWEEK reports. The sale by Google was seen as a move for the company to firm up its own direction in the mobile space and cut its losses as it continued to focus on the Android mobile operating system. Google had sold off other parts of Motorola Mobility within months after it acquired the company in early 2012.
In January, Motorola Mobility announced that it will stop using the Motorola brand name as it moves to remove the historic nameplate from its smartphones in deference to its Moto and Vibe product names.