The Timewave is a Moto Mod that will give your Moto Z touch superpowers

timewave moto mod 52604 01 resized
Modular smartphones — phones with custom connectors that attach to aftermarket zoom camera lenses, hi-fi speakers, and even pico projectors — have achieved varying levels of success. Google put the kibosh on Project Ara, an ambitious modular smartphone platform, and LG’s G5 didn’t take off the way the company probably hoped. But Lenovo’s Moto Z and Moto Z Force have managed to catch on, more or less — in November, they surpassed 1 million sales. Unsurprisingly, Lenovo’s hoping to keep a good thing going. Case in point — the Timewave, a new Moto Mod.

The Timewave emerged from a Moto Mod accelerator Lenovo launched in 2016. In November, it teamed up with crowdfunding platform Indiegogo and Verizon to launch the “Transform the Smartphone Challenge,” a contest that tasked entrants with brainstorming ideas for new Moto Mods. Ten lucky winners get an all-expenses-paid trip to Motorola’s Chicago headquarters in March, where they will pitch ideas and hear feedback from a panel of Lenovo and Verizon venture capital arms.

The Timewave is one of the finalists. It’s is a case at its core, made of a textured soft plastic that provides extra grip and thick padding that protects against scrapes and falls. But it’s not your average accessory. The entire back cover is touch-sensitive, allowing for custom controls and gestures programmed with a custom launcher called the Esper. The Timewave’s creators call it a “5D surface,” capable of recognizing and processing strikes, presses, vertical swipes, horizontal slides, and lifts. It can be used to navigate the phone with one hand and a single index finger. And it pairs with software features like rich notifications, an app that automatically lights up in sync with your circadian rhythm, a meditation app, and a stretch timer.

The Timewave hasn’t quite made its way to store shelves, but the team has answered questions on Reddit and launched a teaser website. They expect to begin shipping the case this spring.

It joins a growing number of Moto Mods. Last year, Incipio launched a compatible extended battery and vehicle, JBL debuted external speakers, and Hasselblad took the wraps off a dedicated camera. “We are invested in the future of the Moto Mods ecosystem and we want to empower developers to dream, build, and fund their own Moto Mods,” Motorola said of the burgeoning ecosystem. “Over the next few months, we’ll be introducing new opportunities to help developers get involved.”

Photography

Nikon brings a classic workhorse lens to the Z series with new 24-70mm f/2.8 S

The Nikon Z series finally has a bright zoom available without an adapter. The Nikkor Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S offers new coatings and more customizable controls in a smaller, lighter body than the comparable F-mount lens.
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

The Moto G4 Plus is finally getting the update to Android Oreo

We've reached out to every major Android hardware manufacturer and asked them when they will update their devices to the latest version of Google's mobile operating system, Android 8.0 Oreo.
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.
Wearables

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.
Mobile

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.
Wearables

Focals succeed where Google Glass fumbled (but do we really need smartglasses?)

It’s been seven years since Google took the wraps off Google Glass. Now, we’re finally getting a modern-day equivalent we want to wear. North’s Focals combine subtle style with an intuitive interface to craft smartglasses you’ll…
Mobile

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.
Computing

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.
Home Theater

Samsung accidentally leaks its new Galaxy Buds ahead of launch

It's been all but certain that Samsung would launch a successor to its Gear IconX wireless earbuds soon, but a newly leaked photo and recent FCC certification document seems to indicate that the debut is very close.
Home Theater

Hi-res streaming audio service Qobuz arrives in U.S., threatens Tidal’s monopoly

For several years, Tidal enjoyed a monopoly on hi-res music streaming in the U.S. Now, French company Qobuz is here to offer some competition with a variety of monthly plans starting at $10 a month.
Mobile

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Mobile

OnePlus 6T vs. Honor View 20: We compare the cameras in these ‘flagship killers’

For less than $600, you can buy either the OnePlus 6T or the Honor View 20, two extremely capable smartphones with plenty of exciting features. But which one has the best camera? We found out on a recent trip to France.
Mobile

Save space on your iPhone by turning off Live Photos in the camera app

If you want to save storage space on your iPhone or reduce the size of your backup for iCloud, then you should think about turning off Live Photos in the camera app. Find out exactly how to do it with our easy guide.