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Innovation

Moto Mods Hackathon: Moving the modular smartphone concept forward

With active participation in hackathons and a full Mod Development Kit, Motorola Mobility is enabling hardware developers to help its Moto Mods be successful. The Moto Z is an excellent modular smartphone that looks to be getting even better.
matthew-miller
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer on
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Last August I spent time with the Moto Z Force Droid Edition and was impressed by what Lenovo has done with the easy slap-on-the-back modular design. I continue to use a Z Force Droid and with timely updates reminiscient of an older Moto strategy, the device continues to be a compelling enterprise option.

While the Compaq iPAQ set the bar for modularity back in 2000 with its iPAQ Jacket, we've recently seen failed ideas like the LG G5 in 2016. With the Moto Mods launching in mid-2016 and the active support from Motorola Mobility, we may finally have a modular smartphone solution that succeeds.

As part of its strategy to provide Moto Mods for various markets, Motorola Mobility has been promoting Moto Mods development through developer hackathons. Participants are provided the tools and personal technical assistance to aid in development of Moto Mods.

Lenovo provides a MDK (Mod Development Kit) for $125. The kit includes a mechanical and electrical interface to connect with a Moto Z, a Moto Mod processor with 95k ROM, a Moto high speed bridge, and an 80 pin connector exposing all developer interfaces. Technical documentation is also provided. This reminds me a lot of the electronics and radio kits I played with in my youth and I am seriously considering picking one up to try to come up with some ideas.

As you can see in the embedded video, the recent Moto Mods Hackathon in San Francisco resulted in some interesting Moto Mods ideas. The winner developed a solar powered charger with other mods providing various testing and tracking aids. Do you have a good idea for a Moto Mod?

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