Moto Smartphones to Get Fingerprint Readers, Bigger Displays

Displays on new handsets will measure at least 5 inches as Moto works to add features that are already being offered by competitors.

Moto, smartphones, Motorola Mobility, displays, fingerprint reader, Vibe smartphones, touchscreens

The next generations of Moto smartphones will get integrated fingerprint readers and larger screens of at least 5 inches as the rebranded smartphone maker works to compete more effectively in the mobile marketplace.

The details of the coming features were revealed recently by Chen Xudong, mobile chief of Moto's parent company, Lenovo, according to a Jan. 12 story by TechBuffalo. The announcements came a week after Moto said it would drop the former Motorola nameplate from its products, while rebranding its smartphones with the names of its existing main and budget lines—Moto and Vibe.

In the interview, Chen said that the Moto phone line will get fingerprint readers in 2016, as well as displays that are larger than 5 inches, while metal body options are also possible, the story reported.

For Moto, it has been an intriguing start to 2016. Just last week the company, which recently has been known as Motorola Mobility, announced that it will soon 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. The rebranding was revealed at the CES 2016 event in Las Vegas by Motorola Mobility CEO Rick Osterloh, according to a recent eWEEK story.

The name changes come almost two years after Motorola Mobility, the division that builds and sells smartphones, was sold by Google to Lenovo in January 2014 for about $2.91 billion. The company builds its Moto and Vibe lines of handsets for sale around the world. Motorola actually dropped the Motorola name from its smartphone packaging when it launched its original Moto X handset in 2013.

While the Motorola name won't be used for product branding in the future, it will remain the name of the business that designs and engineers Moto and Vibe phones.

Google sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo in 2014, less than two years after Google itself had acquired the handset maker. 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 November 2015, the company opened its first temporary Moto Shop boutique, where smartphone and smartwatch buyers can try out products in person before buying them. The Moto Shop opened in Chicago on Nov. 7 as an "experiential" store, where consumers can explore products in detail and get answers to questions about features and more, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The pop-up store will remain open through May 2016, with similar temporary stores possible in other locations in the future. The Moto Shop has a hands-on feel, rather than being set up as a more traditional store, where specifications are the focus. Customers can interact with products and can browse, test and even purchase Motorola smartphones and Moto 360 smartwatches.

In October 2015, Motorola unveiled its Droid Turbo 2 smartphone, which features an innovative shatterproof five-layer display that includes a four-year guarantee against screen cracking or shattering, even when dropped onto a hard surface. The Droid Turbo 2 boasts the company's first super-tough Moto ShatterShield display and includes Motorola's Moto Maker customization process, which lets users choose the colors, materials and designs of their new devices.

The Droid Turbo 2 is a 4G LTE phone that features a 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor; 3GB of LPDDR4 memory; a 21-megapixel rear camera with dual LED CCT flash, zero shutter lag and rapid focus; a 5MP front camera with flash and a wide-angle lens; and a water-repellent nano-coating to protect the device from moisture and spills.