Lenovo to launch 'Moto Mods' exclusively through Verizon

Lenovo's first two modular smartphones from its Motorola subsidiary will launch exclusively on Verizon (NYSE: VZ) this summer, the companies said.

Lenovo unveiled the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, which will be compatible with "Moto Mods," enabling users to customize features and functionality. Moto Mods are interchangeable "smart backs" that snap onto the handset enabling it to project videos, blast music and extend battery life.

"The Moto Z Droids are amazing devices by themselves, but we wanted to work with Motorola to introduce something entirely new that would inspire customers to get excited about smartphones again," said Jeff Dietel, Verizon's vice president of wireless devices, in a press release. "This groundbreaking new modular system will revolutionize the smartphone landscape and Droid brand for years to come."

Both phones are powered by Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 820 processor and feature a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, 32 GB of storage, dual cameras and fingerprint readers. Both phones will support Verizon's Advanced Calling, and the Moto Z Droid Edition "is the thinnest premium smartphone" on the market, the companies said.

Verizon and Lenovo declined to offer some important details, however, including the price of the handsets and an exact launch date. The carrier will begin accepting pre-orders for the phones in July.

Motorola's first Moto Mods will include a speaker from JBL, a power pack allowing users to recharge their batteries on the go, and a projector that offers a built-in battery and up to 70-inch projection functionality.

Verizon is the exclusive U.S. carrier at the launch of both the new handsets and Moto Mods; Lenovo has yet to announce other carrier deals. The companies announced the news at Lenovo Tech World 2016 in San Francisco. Lenovo also used the event to unveil the Phab 2 Pro, which is the first consumer device using Google's Tango augmented reality technology, and to tease prototypes of some devices with bendable screens.

Exclusive deals limit distribution opportunities for handset vendors – for a while, at least – but Lenovo is clearly hoping that strong support from the nation's largest mobile operator can help boost sagging sales. The Chinese technology company was the fourth-largest worldwide smartphone vendor during the fourth quarter of 2015, according to IDC, but was knocked out of the top five in the first quarter of 2016 as fellow Chinese manufacturers Oppo and Vivo gained ground.

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