Motorola’s flagship Moto X smartphones for 2016 are set to come with a modular design, allowing users to add features such as stereo speakers, physical camera controls and extra battery life.
According to sources speaking to VentureBeat, Motorola — which is owned by Chinese PC giant Lenovo — will launch two versions of its flagship smartphones just as it did last year. The first, more premium model, will be the Moto X Vector Thin which, as the name suggests, will come with an ultra-slim profile of 5.2mm, a metal chassis, a 5.5-inch high resolution Quad HD display and Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 820 chipset. The second model will be called the Moto X Vertex, which has a slightly bulkier 7 mm frame, a lower resolution 5.5-inch Full HD display and a less powerful Snapdragon 625 chipset.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) May 9, 2016
However, as seen in the images leaked by HelloMotoHK on Google+ this week, the most interesting aspect of the new phones are related to the two rows of metallic connectors near the bottom of the rear cover. According to VentureBeat, these will be used to connect various back plates that Motorola is calling “Amps.”
LG introduced its version of modular smartphone design earlier this year with the G5, which features a removable battery, allowing users to swap out various modules — called “Friends” — including extra battery life, physical camera controls and superior audio features.
Motorola is set to offer up to six official “Amps” at launch while it is also working with third parties to offer a wider range of modules. Among the Amps available at launch will reportedly be an extra battery pack, stereo speakers, physical camera controls with flash, a pico projector and a rugged case with wide-angle camera lens.
According to another report from Droid Life, the new phones will be unveiled at Lenovo’s second annual Tech World, a one-day conference taking place in San Francisco on June 9. While no pricing or release dates have been leaked, the renders shown above indicate that Aug. 24 could be a likely release date.
As well as showcasing new Lenovo and Moto products at Tech World, the company is also set to unveil the first Project Tango smartphone.
“We’ll launch the world’s first consumer Project Tango-enabled smartphone in partnership with Google,” the company said in a press release. “Project Tango brings augmented reality to your smartphone, including gaming, navigation, and other utilities. This device gives you a totally new way to experience the world — enabling you to do things never imagined, from indoor mapping your way around a museum to creating a 3D gaming environment to visualizing how a new refrigerator fits into your kitchen.”
Project Tango is a technology that uses the cameras and sensors on mobile devices to allow users to map the real world around them. In January, the first Project Tango-enabled smartphone went on sale for $299 to developers only and according to 9to5Google, Lenovo’s new model will go on sale for under $500.