Lenovo debuts modular Moto Z phones, but there’s a big catch

We’ve been hanging out a Lenovo Tech World this week, and there was a lot of cool new stuff to see. There was also a bit of controversy. First the techie goodness: Lenovo, who bought Motorola’s cell phone business from Google, unveiled two cool new flagship phones, the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force. Both feature top-tier tech including high-resolution cameras, 5.5-inch AMOLED screens, 4 gigs of RAM and 32 or 64gb of storage.

The Moto Z Force adds in an even better camera, more battery capacity and a shatter-proof display. The key feature for both phones, though, are the Moto Mods. These add-on modules utilize that external patch of contacts we spied early on, and you can get a JBL-based audio-boost pack, a mini pico-type projector –both of which feature additional battery power – and a pure battery booster pack. Plus, there’s a dev kit, so more Moto Mods are on the way.

But here’s the bad news: in the U.S. market, the phones initially are only going to work on Verizon’s network, however, Motorola says the Moto Z will be available this fall as an unlocked device. It’s not the first time a phone has been restricted to a carrier. But we think these phones are too cool to have access restricted by carrier, so we hope you’ll join us in telling Motorola to free the MotoZ.

_____________

Another cool phone to pop up at Lenovo Tech World was the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. The gigantic-for-a-phone Phab 2 Pro runs Google’s “Tango” system, which includes some pretty robust augmented reality features. It can also 3D map enclosed spaces and then let you virtually add furniture, play games, and more. You better have deep pockets – literally – as the phone has a 7-inch screen, putting it firmly in phablet territory.

Fortunately, the Phab 2 Pro will be sold unlocked for $500 beginning this September. The Tango AR system is in the final stages of development, but after getting a first look, we have to say, this is going to be one fun, albeit large, mega phone.

_____________

As you know, Google has been rolling out super-fast gigabit internet service in several cities through their Google Fiber program. But running all that cable is expensive and time consuming.

Solution? Gigabit wifi. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google chairman Eric Schmidt says improvements in wireless tech have now made it possible to push gigabit speeds through the air, and they’re building out a wireless test network in KC, the same city that was first in line to get Google Fiber a few years back. A gigabit-speed wifi network potentially solves a lot of bottlenecks, especially when it comes to video streaming.

You might have to have some sort of special super-wifi receiver in or on your home, but if that means we can stream Game of Thrones without it stopping to buffer, well, hey, we can live with that.

Updated June 13 to reflect the news that the Moto Z will be available from Moto.com as an unlocked device this fall, per Motorola.

Computing

Looking for a new laptop? These 5 notebooks are on sale through Presidents’ Day

If you're ready to ditch your aging notebook, you can score some fantastic Presidents' Day savings right now on Microsoft's Surface Pro 6, Dell's XPS 13, HP's Spectre x360, Lenovo's Yoga C930, and Dell's G5 15 Gaming laptops.
Mobile

Google still thinks people are interested in modular smartphones

Google has filed new patents related to modular smartphone designs and technology, several years after it discontinued Project Ara, indicating it is still interested in creating phones that are easily modified by the owner.
Mobile

You can now get Google Fi SIM cards straight from Best Buy

Google's wireless service known as Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi. The company also announced the service is now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about…
Mobile

Moto G7 Play vs. Nokia 3.1 Plus: Two budget veterans slug it out

The Moto G7 Play is the new super-budget superstar on the block, with a new processor, compact design, and fresh features. But can it take down the Cricket-exclusive Nokia 3.1 Plus? We compared the two to find out.
Digital Trends Live

Original ‘Shark Tank’ star Kevin Harrington on what he loves about CES

Broadcasting from CES, the hosts of Digital Trends Live had a chance to talk to entrepreneur and original Shark Tank star Kevin Harrington about his love of trade shows and how he invests.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Highlights from day 2 of CES 2019 outline future of tech

In our second day of coverage for the annual tech conference in Las Vegas, Greg Nibler and Maude Garrett welcomed guests from industry leaders like Verizon, Intel, and Microsoft and we went out on the floor to discover new tech.
Digital Trends Live

TEST

  dsfsadfas
Digital Trends Live

On the last day of CES, Digital Trends Live hands out awards and more

On the third and final day of CES, the annual tech trade show in Las Vegas, the Digital Trends Live team interviewed guests, dissected all the trends on display at the show, and gave awards to the very best tech.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: New Motorola flip phone, ads in space, smart umbrella

On this episode of Digital Trends Live we discussed trending headlines like foldable smartphones and advertising in space. We also sat down with Caleb Denison and Ronan Glon to talk about the world of tech post CES 2019.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Netflix price hike, Starsona’s celeb connections, and more

On episode 48 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler, Adrien Warner, and Drew Prindle explored the tech news of the day, including Netflix’s controversial price hike, and an interview with Digital Domain’s Darren Hendler.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: The dark age of streaming, booze delivery, and more

On the latest episode of Digital Trends Live, DT's daily morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Nicole Raney explored the biggest news from the tech world. On this week's episode: A massive data breach, the dark age of streaming, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Oscar nominations, the future of blockchain, and more

From Oscar nominations, to the latest Spotify and Uber features, there was a lot to discuss on this episode of Digital Trends Live. Journalist Rachel Wolfson also joined the show to talk about the future of cryptocurrency.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Double-folding phones, the best gaming laptops, and more

AirPod rumors and the latest news about foldable phones highlight Wednesday's episode of Digital Trends Live. We also sat down with Calvin Iverson to talk about how to travel on a budget and how millennials are changing the travel industry.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon Scout, Soraya Darabi, and Joey Ricard

On episode 53 of Digital Trends Live, DT's live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Drew Prindle discussed the latest in tech news, including Amazon's new delivery drone, CRISPR babies, and more.