Livermorium’s new Moto Mod will bring back BlackBerry-style physical keyboard

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 has been 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 called Livermorium, was shown off at CES 2018, where Motorola said it’ll cost $99 and be available in winter. 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 up to a 60-degree angle to the keyboard, like HTC’s old Tilt devices use to do.

Livermorium had originally hoped to also stuff a 1,750mAh external battery into the Mod, essentially giving the Moto Z it’s connected to a ton of extra juice. Livermorium made no mention of an external battery at CES, so it doesn’t seem as though the final version of the keyboard has one on offer. That means that the Mod may actually end up drawing power from the phone, though it hopefully wouldn’t need much.

The Livermorium keyboard was the grand winner of Lenovo’s “Transform the Smartphone” challenge, but there were some other pretty cool entrants, too. One such entrant, called Inhale, gives the Moto Z the ability to test air quality and tell you if you’re being exposed to polluted air.

Lenovo and Vital have also partnered on a new Mod that can be used to track five vital signs in only a few minutes. The Mod comes in at $395, and while it probably isn’t aimed at everyone, it could prove to be very useful to those who need to keep a close eye on their vitals. Among noteworthy features is the ability to test blood pressure with a finger cuff, rather than the traditional band-style arm cuff.

Update: The Livermorium Moto Mod will be available soon for $99.