Latest Moto X 2016 leak suggests exciting swappable back modules may be coming

Details on the 2016 variant of Motorola's Moto X (or is it Moto Z?) line are scant, but the latest one is both exciting and fitting with earlier looks at the new hardware. The new image shows three accessories that presumably clip onto the back of the new Moto X, which aligns nicely with original leaks that show an array of pogo pins on the back that could let such a set of modules attach and augment the phone.

The new leak, as it so often does, comes from @evleaks on Twitter:

We're having a tough time guessing what the rearmost module would be, but the middle one looks to be perhaps an extended battery with a kickstand, while the foremost looks like a very exciting full camera sensor, lens, grip, flash and physical shutter key.

Not only do these modules look to be straight up challenging the LG G5 in the "modular phone" segment, they also seem very reminiscent of how Lenovo plugs together different functional modules in its "ThinkPad Stack" accessory products.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

60 Comments
  • RuhRoh...
  • I infinitely like these more than the G5.
  • Totally agree!
  • Extended battery? Heck yeah!
  • It'll need it, if rumors are true. Leaks say 2600 mAh.
  • Are they above purposely crippling the battery to make the extended battery modules more attractive? I'm looking at a 3000 mAh removable battery on my desk and it's tiny.
  • Yes, it's called Motorola z Posted via the Android Central App
  • The only problem I'm having is technobuffalo has renders of the new phone and there's Droid branding and moto branding on the camera lens. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah that will be the useless Verizon crap but there will be real phone called pure edition so it's fine. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is definitely a better take on a modular design than LG accomplished with the G5 IMO. I just hope that this doesn't have the gap the G5 has, doesn't require you to power the phone off, and hopefully there's a larger more useful selection of them Posted with my awesome Gold S6 Edge+
  • I don't see why this would cause a gap or require you to turn the phone off. This is a much better execution than LG's.
  • The first one is the standard back Posted via the Android Central App
  • No, because the "standard back" is what's built into the phone with the pogo plugs on it that these connect to. It also clearly has depth around the camera, indicating it goes over the back. I'm guessing it's a more moderate extended battery, while the middle is a bigger one with kickstand.
  • I think you're wrong, actually. This is probably the rumored style cover.
  • Seriously? Just LOOK at it. Besides not being stylish, it very clearly adds a lot of thickness due to the depth of the camera ring. A style cover wouldn't add enough thickness to make that necessary. It also appears to have a clear button/sensor/connector/output on the side.
  • I am guessing the rear one is a wireless charging module...it almost looks like there is a finger print reader in the middle of it too.
  • I think you may be on the right track with this. From my AT&T Platinum Gold Note 5
  • Hopefully not, having the fingerprint sensor on a removable back plate would be bad. It's best to assume I'm being sarcastic. if I'm ever serious I'll type "/s" to make it clear.
  • I thought the fingerprint sensor was square shaped and on the front located a la iPhone Posted via the Android Central App and Nexus 6
  • Fingerprint scanner is in the front. Posted via the Android Central App
  • First part is plausible, hopefully with extended battery. Second makes no sense since there's one on the front. But all of this WOULD explain why they had to put it on the front when the back made more sense for their usual designs.
  • i just see a circle there in the middle of the back...it could just be the moto logo though. Where I would agree it doesnt make sense...just a thought...
  • Doesn't making it removable defeat its purpose??
  • The back plate looks closely to resemble a camera module. The lens over the flash at the top left, the bottom left a snap pic button etc. so turn your phone landscape and start shooting pics.
  • Bring it on! Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
  • Can't trust moto for updates SOOO I'm out thus year sticking with my Nexus 6 Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I've been saying that for the last five years or so lol. And yes, I am still sore about my Atrix! It's best to assume I'm being sarcastic. if I'm ever serious I'll type "/s" to make it clear.
  • Did your Atrix go to the matrix?
  • Nah, just to a drawer. Admittedly less alliterative, but far more convenient. It's best to assume I'm being sarcastic. if I'm ever serious I'll type "/s" to make it clear.
  • My last android phone before my stint with Apple was the Moto Photon, which was axed for updates as well. While I missed Android, at least my iPhone received updates. I've since come around and got a 5X, but I am waiting for a killer phone from Moto that I can trust will be updated... Donno if that will ever happen though.
  • My next phone was a nexus. To be honest, I don't think I'll ever go back to moto... they did a decent job of burning that bridge. But if they build the right device for the right money in the future, who knows. Just to be clear, it's not that they didn't update it. It's that they promised again and again that they were going to update it, then didn't update it. It's best to assume I'm being sarcastic. if I'm ever serious I'll type "/s" to make it clear.
  • I agree, Moto bridge is burned. I bought my Photon in March instead of the Galaxy S2 because it was promised Gingerbread by October. :/ Regretted that decision. Loved the phone, just not the company...
  • I had an Atrix too... Everyone who had it still sore about it....
  • I wonder how the moto z will be priced compared to last year's moto x. Definitely looks to be around same price as the other flagships...
    Might be sticking with oneplus and getting the OnePlus 3.
    You know, the moto g plus seems good enough too. Posted via Android Central App on 1+1
  • Well that's a much nicer and probably more robust setup than the G5. But as a former Atrix user I would caution against being drawn in by gimmicky accessories. It's best to assume I'm being sarcastic. if I'm ever serious I'll type "/s" to make it clear.
  • Yeah, Lenovo's going to keep the updates and quality coming regularly.
  • This gives me bad feels about the stock camera. "Oh you want great pictures in all conditions? We have a module for that." Posted via the Android Central App
  • After how well the moto g plus performs, i have high hopes for the camera, especially because the camera module makes it look like it's gonna pack a punch just because of it's design/size of the camera module. I don't have too high hopes for the phone though, from leaks the design seems very wonky.
  • I am hoping the back module is an external speaker.... it probably isn't, but it would be cool if it was.
  • Probly a fat speaker Posted via the Android Central App
  • Those camera cut outs look very cheap to me.
    I hope the big ugly back, probably with the battery has wireless charging too Posted via the Android Central App
  • First thought is the bottom one is for wireless charging. The strange thing is it looks like there is a button on the side of it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't like this idea. When I purchase accessories other than cases or screen protectors, I want to use them on multiple devices. I also keep my accessories longer than I keep my phones. I can't see spending money on accessories that will be useless when I get rid of a phone. Posted via my Moto X Pure Edition using the Android Central App
  • Edit: You won't have to buy these. Just use it as your current Moto
  • Unfortunately Moto phones hardly get any updates to newer versions of Android. If they do it takes so long you've stopped caring or are already at the point where your purchasing a newer phone. Gotta get a Nexus if you want to have the latest features.
  • Oh, you mean like how the Moto X Pure Edition got update to Marshmallow before every Lollipop phone other than the Nexus devices? Or are we just going to forget that one?
  • The Pure Edition is an unlocked non-carrier phone so I don't think anyone is surprised by that. A lot of people can't or won't buy an unlocked phone. But feel free to read about the Moto carrier phones and you'll see what I'm talking about.
  • Give me daydream or give me death.
  • These look, especially the camera, much more innovative, creative, and useful, than any of the lg "friends". I think if these are actual things, motorola just crushed lg. Posted via the Android Central App - Snapdragon Samsung Galaxy S7 -
  • Exciting swappable back modules? Sounds like a robot from Japan.
  • While I think these are a far better solution than LG's, I'm still not really sold on them. I mean yeah an extended battery is good, but a case is probably a better way of doing it, ditto wireless charging (if that is actually what it is). And the camera thing could be good, but will only work with that phone, whereas Sony made a cross device and even cross platform camera accessory years ago. As a concept of something magnetically attaching to the back of your phone for added functionality, I do like it. But until there's a universal way of doing that, I'm probably not interested. Posted via the Android Central App
  • A case is a TERRIBLE way to add an extended battery. Giant bottom bezels just make a phone unwieldy. Making a phone thicker doesn't. The G3 and G4 are actually quite comfortable to use with extended batteries. Posted via the Android Central App
  • These look a lot like cases. And I agree with a lot of people here. This is way better implemented than LG's "Friends", but unless there's a universal standard, it'll probably not catch on.
  • I wonder what type of lens is on the one that looks like a camera, bottom line I think I will give this phone a spin when it comes out just to see what it has to offer while I await the grand daddy Note series in late summer early fall,
  • I think the back one is actually the extended battery and the middle one may be the pico projector. I've seen a couple of small mobile ones with kickstands.
  • The back one is definitely an enhanced camera lens. It covers up the original lens, and the button on the side looks like a shutter button.
  • As long as customers don't mind the bulk this would be great for Moto.
  • The same twitter account states the rearmost back is a projector.
  • https://twitter.com/evleaks/status/735862741127155713 "By the way, these are (from L to R) the projector, JBL speakers, and Hasselblad camera."
  • So not an extended battery?