Life under Lenovo has had its ups and downs for Motorola. The company has found success on the budget end of the smartphone spectrum with the recent Moto G5 and the Moto E series before that, but the mobile phone business is still bringing down its corporate parent. Based on a new leakobtained by VentureBeat, however, the company appears to be doubling down on the budget end of its product line with an even more affordable Moto C series of phones.
The Moto C and Moto C Plus are directed at first time smartphone buyersVentureBeat's Evan Blass reports, so they make a solid base for Android 7.0 Nougat but won't offer much beyond that. Both the C and the C Plus will sport a five-inch display, so the "Plus" badge is actually a reference to a bump in specs rather than screen real estate. The Plus offers 720p HD resolution, 4G LTE and a 64-bit 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, while the standard C only has a 480p screen. The C will come in two flavors, however: one with 4G LTE radios and one presumably aimed at emerging markets and limited to only 3G. The C will only come with 1GB of RAM, but the C Plus with offer either 1GB or 2GB depending on the region. Likewise, storage space will vary depending on the market, but you can expect either 8GB or 16GB onboard with microSD slots to handle any media library overflow.
On the back, the Moto C brings along a 5-megapixel rear camera (with autofocus only on the 4G model). The C and the C Plus share the same 2-megapixel selfie shooter, but the Plus gets an 8-megapixel sensor on the main camera. Both models should get some respectable battery life with a 2350mAh capacity in the Moto C and 4000mAh in the C Plus. No word yet on release dates or launch markets, but when they are available, you can find them in Motorola's now-standard black, white, gold and red.
The Moto Z series could get Google's world-sensing Tango tech
Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro might be the first smartphone out there with Google's Tango technology, but other parts of the company are interested in the tech as well. While addressing reporters at an event in Chicago, Motorola Mobility president Aymar de Lencquesaing said that the Lenovo-owned subsidiary is "likely to have a Tango module" for the Moto Z line of smartphones... though he stopped short of confirming such an add-on was currently in the works.
"Augmented reality on a phone is a technology that's likely to stick," de Lencquesaing added later. "Of course we'll follow, or lead, the market in this area."
In case you're new to Tango, Google's work combines multiple cameras -- mostly for measuring depth and motion -- with additional sensors to give a phone a very fine understanding of where it is and what's in front of it. The issue so far is that Tango, or the way it's implemented in Lenovo's enormous phablet, is far from perfect. Depth-sensing is sketchy at best, the interfaces for Tango apps can be cumbersome and in general, there's still plenty of work to be done. The upside, however, is the staggering potential that becomes evident when Tango experiences work the way they're supposed to. Tango, for lack of a better word, can feel like magic.
While it's unclear if we'll ever actually see a Tango mod magnetically lashed to a Moto Z, it's no surprise it's under consideration. After all, the idea of squeezing the requisite technology into a smartphone add-on is a damned good one. Consider this: The Phab 2 Pro wound up being enormous in part because of all the Tango technology Lenovo had to fit into a relatively sleek body, and that size made the phone cumbersome to use as a daily driver.
By offloading those extra cameras and adding an external battery, Motorola could maintain its flagship devices' slim bodies and provide the (undeniably neat) augmented reality experiences Tango is known for. And let's not forget that the Moto Z series runs cleaner, more functional versions of Android than the Phab 2 Pro does. That means you'd get a better all-around phone with the option of dipping in to augmented reality when the mood strikes. Google has said in the past that other Tango devices are coming, and some of them are sure to pack flagship levels of power. Until device makers figure out how build Tango into phones seamlessly, though, the optional approach Motorola is considering seems brilliant.