Moto Z brings magnetic backs and PHAB 2 Pro is ready to Tango — here's what Apple's competition has been up to!
Lenovo's TechWorld conference is underway in San Francisco, and our colleagues from Android Central are there bringing back all the details on all the new phones, including the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, and the PHAB 2 Pro.
Moto Z and Moto Z Force
Moto Z — and it's tougher Force variant — has magnetic backs that pop into place, providing better audio, pico-projection, extended battery life, and more to come.
On the inside, you're getting the specs you expect out of a mid-2016 flagship. Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and what Motorola is calling its "best cameras yet" with 13MP on the Moto Z and 21MP on the Moto Z Force. The screen is an expected QHD resolution, and powering it all are a 2600 mAh battery in the Moto Z and a whopping 3500 mAh in the Moto Z Force. Both feature Motorola's Turbo Charging system, which will let you quickly fill up those batteries for 10 or more hours of use in just 15 minutes.
It also has no discreet headphone port. You can connect over USB-C instead. With Apple perpetually rumored to be dumping the 3.5mm port for Lightning, reaction to this will be fun to watch.
Lenovo PHAB 2 Pro
The PHAB 2 Pro is a Tango device, which means it has sensors designed to make it aware of its environment.
the PHAB 2 Pro is huge. It's packing a 6.4-inch QHD display with enough bulk on the sides to allow the three sizable cameras on the back to sit flush with the casing. Just like the Tango tablet, those cameras include a 16MP standard RGB camera, a fisheye camera for that "human" perspective, and an infrared camera for depth. Lenovo's IR sensor is not only significantly more responsive than the sensor included in the Tango tablet, it's also smaller. That's obviously a big deal when stuffing all of this hardware into something relatively phone-sized (and shaped), and keeping the cameras flush against the casing instead of protruding from the back makes this PHAB comfortable enough to hold and use like a phone. With Dolby Amos speakers on the bottom and a fingerprint sensor on the back, the rest of the body comes together nicely to form something that isn't obviously different from any other phone you'd see out in the world.
What it means for Apple and iPhone
I haven't had a chance to watch the event yet — though Ashton Kutcher coming out on stage will no doubt be a light, hi- or -lo TBD — but I've always liked Motorola. They've never been as me-too as some other vendors, and from the original Droid to the Google-owned X-years to, now, the Z under Lenovo they've tried some interesting things.
Given the changes in ownership, I'm not sure how their strong their brand is compared to Samsung or Apple, or how compelling either the magnetic back or Tango technology will prove for the mainstream in its current iteration. But I like that they're trying.
Late last year, Apple shipped the Smart Battery Case. Could the company one day ship a Smart Camera Case or Smart Speaker Case? Making those types of accessories easier to attach and detach, and making the interfaces accessible to third parties, would be interesting, to say the least. It would further the idea that, iPhone having been built up as a platform, could now be used as a platform to build up what comes beyond iPhone.
Additional sensors seem more a when than an if. We're still in the midst of a contextual awakening. From the early days of accelerometers to making mics and buttons smart with Siri and Touch ID, to the potential of smarter cameras and other sensors, interacting with the world around us is the same type of post-platform, beyond-iPhone theme we'll only see more of.
Apple tends not to prototype in public, but I wouldn't be surprised in the least if we keep seeing better and smarter peripherals and more powerful sensors for iPhone and the rest of the product lineup in the foreseeable future.
Check out iMore's sibling site, Android Central, for all the details and ongoing coverage.