Over the past few years, the tech world has become fascinated with a new concept, modular smartphones. The ability to change at will, to add and subtract, and to continuously update is one that immediately piques the interest. Attempts have been made, though few have found success. Google suspended Project Ara, LG ditched the G5′s modular capabilities, and other projects have run into similar roadblocks.
Regardless of the success rate, Lenovo decided to give the modular design another shot with the Moto Z. The device features a pin connection on the rear of the device that allows a single mod to be added to the phone at a time. Though not a perfect representation of the hopes for modular smartphones, it represents a step in a positive direction, and the company has already found ways to utilize the modular capability.
Lenovo opened the Moto Z’s modular capabilities to third-parties, and the decision is beginning to bear fruit. A concept called Keyboard Mod has been brewing for a while. The Mod is simple enough: it’s a physical keyboard that slides and tilts, a design reminiscent of devices before slab smartphones. The team has been working on the device for several months now, and a prototype is now complete.
The prototype is an engineering sample and the design isn’t entirely finalized, but the keyboard looks much like the classic physical keyboards of past devices. The creators are also making note of the fact that they’ve included certain fan suggestions into the design, such as LED lighting for the CAPS key, a battery indicator, and connection lighting. Tomorrow, the team is bringing the prototype to Chicago, where they will present to Motorola and Verizon. The outcome remains to be seen, but it’s possible that there could soon be a physical keyboard available for the Moto Z.
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