Moto Z Modular Smartphones Launched in India, But Should You Buy One?

Chaitanya Tapase

Google killed their own modular smartphone project, but Motorola hasn’t given up on the concept just yet. A month after showcasing them at IFA, Berlin, Moto Z and Moto Z Play have now launched in India. Unsurprisingly, they are going to be available only on Amazon and Flipkart, starting at 11:59pm on October 17. And the pricing? Rs. 39,999 for the Moto Z (Snapdragon 820 SoC) and Rs. 24,999 for the Moto Z Play (Snapdragon 625 SoC).

Name's Z, Moto Z!
Name’s Z, Moto Z!

What Are Modular Phones?

You know how you can swap out parts in a desktop computer and upgrade, say, the graphics card to a better one? Or add more RAM? Modular smartphones aim to be just that, for phones. Don’t like the camera optics? Swap it out. Want more audio output? Add a component to get it.

Photo: Google
Photo: Google

These components are called ‘mods’ and the phones built on this concept are referred to as modular smartphones. The idea isn’t particularly new, in fact, the very first video that went viral with this concept was in 2013. But the concept hasn’t fully developed into a reality due to a multitude of reasons.

Are Motorola Z and Z Play a Risky Move?

We’ve spoken about how modular smartphones are still in an infancy stage and even if they develop more, they might still not succeed. The biggest problem that this concept faces is changing the internal hardware of the phone in an easy manner.

Remember, even changing the hardware of a desktop PC isn’t particularly easy. Some geeks might find it easier, others might not. But the laymen will never want to do it. And even though perfect modular form for a smartphone seems like the end-goal, it might never be realistically achievable.

The powerful magnets at the back hold the mods in place | Image: Motorola India
The powerful magnets at the back hold the mods in place | Image: Motorola India

To overcome this stalemate, Motorola hasn’t really released a fully modular phone. The Moto Z and Moto Z Play can only take on the ‘mods’ that I spoke about. But, you cannot take out the existing camera optics and put a replacement. Same with the CPU, RAM and even the battery.

There are, however, mods available that can boost the battery life, audio performance and even modify the Moto Z into a projector. These mods will need to be purchased separately and do not come with the phone.

A risk well managed by Motorola, but whether the phone will find buyers in India remains to be seen.

So, yes – it was a risky move by Motorola. But they’ve managed to cut down that risk by introducing their own take on the modular phone concept. Whether or not it’s any good will have to wait for our full review treatment. Either here on our YouTube channel. So, stay tuned. And if you wanna know the boring stuff like specs and other features, there’s always the official Motorola India page for that.

Hello Moto or Buhbye Moto?

Are you convinced enough to dive in and buy a modular phone by a reliable company like Motorola? Let us know what you think about it in our comments section.

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Chaitanya Tapase has varied interests in Technology from Android to Windows to DSLR Photography. On weekends, you'd find him catching up on TV Shows like Game of Thrones and enjoying House Music.