Some customers still have a need for physical keyboards and this Kickstarter carries a bit of hope.
There are a number of Moto Mods on sale and in development that can transform your Moto Z into a speaker, dedicated camera, projector, barcode scanner, and even a mouse. But what about a BlackBerry? As part of Motorola’s “Transform the Smartphone” Indiegogo challenge, one team of engineers is working on a product that will return a feature missed by many back to a flagship smartphone — a sliding QWERTY keyboard.
The mod, designed by a company known as Livermorium, hit Indiegogo just three days ago and has already amassed more than $21,300 at the time of this writing. The five-row keyboard boasts curvy, generously spaced keys with multiple functions, LED backlighting, and directional buttons for Android navigation. The Teflon-coated sliding mechanism can also push the phone upward and away at a 45-degree angle to the keyboard, like HTC’s old Tilt devices use to do.
Impressively, Livermorium is also planning to stuff the unit with an additional battery for longer stints between charging. The Keyboard Mod for Moto Z, as it is being called, is planned for release in black, silver, and gold, and currently running for $60 for early-bird backers with an estimated completion date of August. The retail version will be priced at $120.
Although demand may appear high for a slideout keyboard mod in the vein of Motorola’s landmark Droid line, it’s clear Livermorium still has a long way to go before it can get the project into the hands of supporters. The team is awaiting components from Motorola and still hashing out a prototype enclosure and sliding mechanism, according to the campaign page.
While the initial funding rush has shown promise, Livermorium has pegged the ultimate goal at $100,000, with 38 days left to make up the difference. Motorola’s last device featuring a physical keyboard — the Verizon-exclusive Droid 4 — was released in 2012. To fully grasp how long ago that is in smartphone years, that handset launched with Android 2.3 Gingerbread.