Motorola’s Modular Smartphone Dream Is Too Young To Die

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by Hook, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. Hook

    Hook Phone Killer ;-) Arrrrr...f

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  2. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    That's a very depressing article... I don't consider myself a die-hard fan of Firefly. A fan yes, but not die-hard. I'm more of a Galactica type. :)

    On topic, that's a very depressing article. I thought Motorola was nailing it with their Mods. I had not thought about the restrictions placed by the form factor, which follows 16:9 screens. Motorola can't release a 18:9 or 18.5:9 phone and keep compatibility with current Mod sizes, unless they made a phone with a smallish wide screen and huge side bezels. That would look really awful.

    After so many failed attempts at modularity I wonder if the concept will ever catch. I'm a big fan of modularity, not only on phones but on many electronic and non-electronic items (even my baggage is modular). But looks like it's almost impossible to mantain compatibility and future-proofing equipment in a field as fickle as phone design.
     
  3. Hook

    Hook Phone Killer ;-) Arrrrr...f

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    Unfortunately, it's the same thing that happened to Palm's "universal connector." I'm sure their intentions were good, but technology moves on too fast. The not-depressiing thing is that it looks like Mi An will get his keyboard. :thumbsup: :newpalm:
     
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  4. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    Haven't had time to read the whole article yet, though I am familiar with moto's brewing situation and am a little sad about what might happen myself, but FWIW, the form factor limitations don't affect the screen aspect ratio and the bezels are shrinking. Z3 generation already has leaks out. Z3 Play look 18:9, Z3 or force or whatever they're calling the flagship this time is similar with curved glass on the sides. The moved the fingerprint sensor on the Play to the power button on the side. Not sure about the sensor on the flagship. The only real limitation is to the footprint of the phone, and there was plenty of bezel to eliminate to go with the more popular screen resolutions/ARs, though frankly, I wish they hadn't.

    Having both a front facing speaker and fingerprint sensor on front (I often turn on t he phone while it sits on my desk without picking it up using the fingerprint sensor) is well worth the bezels IMO. I was anti bezel back when they did nothing, had idiotic rear facing speakers and only acer had fingerprint sensors, but if you actually use the top/bottom bezels wisely, I'd rather keep them.

    https://9to5google.com/2018/04/02/m...-ditches-the-front-facing-fingerprint-sensor/
     
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  5. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Hmmm... let's see if this would work: The Mods require a form factor similar to the current Moto Z series phones, which are 16:9. My wife's Moto Z play is wider than my LG G6 (18:9 screen), and in turn the G6 is taller than the ZP. If Lenovo were to design a Mod-compatible 18:9 phone, it would have to have the same width as the current models, else the Mods would protrude on the sides of the phone. The ZP is 76.4mm wide, the JBL speakers Mod is 73mm wide, almost so wide as the phone itself. That leaves 1.7mm free on each side of the phone, which more or less corresponds to the phone's metal rim, meaning there's very little or no room to save on the sides. So let's say the overall phone dimensions are not altered. If a 18:9 screen were placed in this form factor, it would have to be about the same width as the current screen (6.85cm) to preserve the overall phone width. The corresponding length for a 18:9 screen is 13.7cm, and the diagonal would be 6.02" (huge screen!). The ZP is 15.6cm tall, meaning there's 19mm total available bezel length to distribute on top and bottom. My G6's bezels' width are 8mm (top) and 9.5mm (bottom), or 17.5mm total. So in theory, a Mod-enabled phone with the current form factor could have a 6" 18:9 screen, if the fingerprint sensor is moved to the back, and the forehead and chin are drastically reduced. Looks like there's still hope.

    Sadly, the article is right in that the appeal of the Mods is not high enough to warrant good sales. The only Mod my wife has is the JBL speakers that were bundled with the phone. The amazing battery endurance of the ZP means she doesn't need a battery Mod, and other available Mods (camera, printer, projector, etc) are not interesting enough for her. If I had a Z phone I'd get the battery Mod (whatever juice I carry is never enough!) and maybe the camera Mod. I'd surely get the keyboard Mod if it turns out to be good quality, nice feel, etc. But if the future of the Mods is uncertain I may never get to try them. Back when I purchased the G6 I considered a Z phone, but the ZP2's screen is only 1080x1920, and although the Z Force is 1440x2560, the S8 and G6 (my main candidates back then) are Quad HD at 18:9 and both have headphone jacks. The availability of Mods wasn't enough to convince me to get a Z phone over the appeal of the other two models.
     
  6. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    Well, there isn't really any room on the back for the fingerprint sensor because the mods, camera and flash take it all up, but there is room on the power button. I thought the edge mod (added a ring of RGB leds with effects around the entire phone) was pretty cool actually, not a huge fan of moto's onscreen, no led notifications, but I don't mind them too much either, but like every other crowdfund mod besides the keyboard mod, it died before producing hardware. An eink screen would also impress me, but the only attempt at a concept of one only used 2/3s of the back to leave a camera hole, didn't mirror anything and only used a slim set of widgets to display things on it, designed to be used as a sort of eink post it that made no sense to me, on top of which, it failed to get made. In the world of real mods, only the projector caught my eye and only on its fire sale. For the original $300 msrp the projector was less interesting to me.

    I'm very pleased with my 1080p Z Play, wasn't pleased with the Z2P because they shrank the battery and OC'd almost the same processor. The only hardware that would make me want a Z3P would be a 10nm processor if that contributed nicely to battery life, and if they boosted the battery again, but rumors are the battery remains small relative to ZPOG, and the processor remains 14nm, probably even less efficient than the 626 and having to push more pixels on top of that. :( I'm sure it will compare favorably to most things that aren't the ZP, but ZP battery life has ruined all other phones for me. I might still be tempted to upgrade by Oreo's project treble if it changes updates in a big enough way. We'll see.

    @Hook I am pleased with ongoing progress by the keyboard mod. Slow going as expected, but so far still moving forward. That keyboard is going to be my real mobile if it can cross the last few yards to full production and any phones afterwards will be mere peripherals to it as long as I have one. MMmmm. Buttons. :newpalm:
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
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  7. RossTeagan

    RossTeagan Newbie

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    Sorry for my entry, but wasn't the modular phone category considered a complete flop?
     
  8. Hook

    Hook Phone Killer ;-) Arrrrr...f

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    Certainly not Moto's implementation of it. And it is still going, although clearly it may be in trouble and the market may not be strong enough for an acceptable ROI in the long run. But "complete flop" seems entirely unwarranted.
     
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  9. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Today I was in a b&m store with my wife and she was surprised to see all the Moto Mods available for her Z Play. She happily tried the camera, the gamepad, and the projector. She especially liked the gamepad, but when I offered to buy one for her she declined, saying that would be one more gadget to carry around, so we left the store empty-handed. I think that's part of the problem preventing modularity from becoming mainstream: if the user sees the mods as excess baggage rather than EDC items, it's more likely he/she will leave them home and just take the phone. Me, I'd carry all my mods in my bag. My wife hardly ever takes her JBL speakers mod anywhere. We've been invited to a couple of surprise barbecues, no one had a large-ish speaker to play music, and on every occasion my wife's speaker Mod has been left home in a drawer. I'm not sure what's the solution to this, short of injecting the whole population with geekness-enhancing drugs. Then we'd all happily walk around like this:

    moto-z-mods-05.jpg
     
  10. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    LG's was definitely a flop. They didn't do much with it and appeared to be looking for the door before they even got off the ground. Google's Ara was amazing and awe-inspiring (in it's original conception), but they decided to abandon it without any release after a change in management decided to water it down tremendously. Moto has been a little rocky, but I give them enormous credit for 1) committing to multiple generations from the start 2) trying to actually make a variety of mods. I'm most excited about a 3rd party mod that moto hasn't really helped much, the livermorium keyboard, and their handling of 3rd parties has been kind of erratic, making overtures to draw others into making mods, but then executing horribly, failing to help those that have a chance and backing projects that barely qualify as projects.

    When I look at the wider smartphone market, it's a massive snorefest. Curving glass at the edges, finally getting rid of bezels just when bezels have started carrying useful features like great front facing speakers and front fingerprint sensors you don't have to pick up your phone to use, -- not only do these things not excite me, they tend to benefit form at the expense of function, the exact opposite of my preference. The market seems happy enough with all the bland, but I'm really glad Moto is around to mix things up, even if their potential is definitely not yet realized and even though I know time may be running out for them strike a chord with the mass market.

    If Moto abandons motomods, I'll go back to looking for some great value play because there nothing else out there I want to pay a premium for.
     
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