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Motorola's apparently canceling the Moto X5 and scaling back on Moto Mods

Hot on the heels of reports claiming Motorola laid-off 50% of its engineering team at its Chicago headquarters, another one's popped up suggesting that there's even more happening behind the scenes.

According to Android Police, Motorola has canceled the Moto X5 that was scheduled for a release at some point this year. The X5 would be a successor to the mostly well-received Moto X4 that came out last September, and early leaks of the phone made it look fairly enticing.

By canceling the Moto X5, Motorola will apparently shift its focus to its E, G, and Z phones. You could make the argument that the company's doing this to cut back on the crazy number of devices it releases each year, but on the other hand, we're still expecting three versions of the Moto G and two options for the E and Z series this year.

Going forward, Motorola will focus on the Moto E, G, and Z.

Additionally, Motorola is also said to be changing its approach to Moto Mods. Rather than releasing ones that appeal to niche markets (such as Polaroid printers, projectors, etc.), the company will instead focus on ones that it "believes can actually turn a profit."

As a long-time fan of Motorola, this recent round of news is awfully disheartening. The Moto X4 was a far cry from entries in the X line before it, but it was still one of my favorite phones Motorola released in all of 2017. Now that it's supposedly being canned, we're left with two budget series and a flagship one that heavily relies on a modular system I'm still not sold on.

The future isn't looking bright for Motorola right now, but we'll be sure to keep an eye on things to see what happens from here.

Motorola reportedly laying off up to half of its Chicago engineering staff

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

52 Comments
  • Moto need to push the z line my other half got the z2 and for me I've been nothing but impressed with it.
  • We need more "functional" everyday mods under $50. How about a mod that doubles as a lighter? Or a mod with a hidden compartment? Or a mod with a bottle opener? These are easily things moto could sell for $15 and make $8 on each one. Personally what I want to see in a mod is something like a stand. Something like the JBL speaker but smaller without the speaker. Sell it for $20 and you have a winner.
  • Yeah.....ok so which ones do I carry with me?
  • Exactly! The mods are a cool concept, but they take up a lot of space. And there are lighter cases, cases with compartments, and cases with bottle openers. Why reinvent them?
  • See, I don't have this problem. The average person may struggle with this concept; the mods I want for the day, I take. Going to the pool, take the speaker. Going hiking, take the camera. Playing around with friends, take the printer. Almost everything I'm doing, entails having a way of carrying mods: backpack, fanny pack, my car. Space is the least thing I question as an argument. The fact it's niche and not a huge profit margin is modular downfall more than anything. For anyone who doesn't want to concern themselves with the mods, snap on one mod you want and go. I'm sick of the only phones, that are new and exciting, breaking down because minimal profit. I'm fine with slow addition of mods, but the disappearing into the void is so depressing.
  • Moto is it's own worst enemy. They practically beg me to not buy their stuff. Last year all I really wanted was a moto g with nfc and usb c.
  • I think the mods are a great idea. They are just too expensive. The projector is really cool, but you can buy a pico projector for the same price, cast to it and have a brighter picture with any phone. What happens when the phone dies and you have so much life left in the projector, but no phone to attach it to? yes it is portable, but I think the excitement of that functionality would wear off. I think if all the moto mods were 30% cheaper, it would have been my next phone. Instead, I'm going for the oneplus 5T. On a side note, if the battery mods were stackable with some of the others, they would sell a lot more of those. Imagine a 2mm battery mod to double your battery life and still have the functionality to attach the projector. They are so close, but cost is just too high to get over long term satisfaction of purchase.
  • I don't think stacking mods is possible with the protocol Moto is using. I have the Z Play with the TurboPower Pack that I leave connected. Sometimes if I use my Fiio DAC it won't connect unless I remove the Pack; if the DAC does work I lose battery charge and have to restart or remove the Mod for it to charge back up to 80% (I use the Pack in efficiency mode). This makes me think they're using USB over the Mod connector and that only one connection fully works at a time.
  • I never payed full-price for any of my Moto Mods.
  • Yep. I like the idea of the mods but the ones that appealed to me (JBL speaker, camera) just too expensive.
  • Moto might as well be dead after Google sold them
  • Agreed
  • This sucks. I used to love the Moto X line. Just the way it is I guess.
  • Moto needs to spend more resources on their camera capabilities. Every review says how substandard their cameras are.
    Also, a joint venture with Kodak or Sony for a better optical-zoom Camera Mod would really get some notice.
  • ^ This.
  • It's all subject to your way of thinking I have a xperia xz premium that the camera got ok reviews for but for me with how I use it it's very close to the lumia 950xl camera which for me has been the best camera I have owned. My other half has the z2 and pictures she uses it for its been a very good camera not quite as good as my Sony but not as bad as reviews have made out.
  • It's mostly that smartphone cameras reached the level where it has to be *really bad* for anyone to notice. The differences between flagships are marginal, and generally each model has different strengths and weaknesses. DXO scores aren't as helpful as people may think. "1 point more, better camera, right?" Wrong. And no one bothers to read the breakdown score, which is actually the useful part.
    Besides, I had the original Z and loved the quality of pictures, and love my Z5 even more. The only problem with Xperias is the inferior 'Superior auto' (oh, sweet irony), it gets overzealous with ISO, especially in night shots. And that they don't oversaturate everything, which people seem to think is necessary for a good camera nowadays (bleh). It's all about finding a smartphone that fits you with its pros and cons.
  • No surprise hear. Tough to have a mid range phone that sells for more than $250 to $300 against phones such as One Plus or year old Galaxy or Pixel phones. Not surprised mods aren't working well either. Lots of deep pocketed competition out there...
  • The Z phones without mods are huge, flat pancakes that are uncomfortable to hold and impossible to pocket - I hate them. The only mod I ever would have interest in were extended batteries and a wireless charging module. The rest are goofy and gimmicky. On the other hand - Moto's E and G series phones are incredibly solid for their price points and work great. We have an E that was my daughter's first phone and for as cheap as it was I am still impressed by it. A smaller phone company like Moto needs to focus on incredible quality, not gimmicks.
  • The X4 had the spirit of the previous X phones before it. The original X and third gen X both didn't have the high-end processor of that era.
  • As soon as I knew they were cutting the battery capacity for the Z2 Force/Play, I refused to buy either one. Can't sell mods if you don't sell phones.
  • The Lenovo takeover just doesn't seem to be working out. The moto X's of the past were very good phones! Boo- hooooo.....
  • I knew from the beginning those Mods were a waste.. Who really wants to carry more garbage
  • The answer to who wants to carry garbage is probably...very few people. I do not consider the car dock mod, battery mod or the folio case mod that I have to be garbage, though. The dock just stays in my car and the battery or folio is on the phone. This is really little different than any other phone. I find them useful and it is not like I am filling my pockets with mods. I also have a speaker mod but I do not carry it anywhere. I just stick it in the phone when I want to use it (mostly when going out on the boat).
  • Motorola is garbage and might as well be dead since Google sold them off and I won't touch a Moto product ever again, and those "Moto Mods" are gimmick add-ons that aren't useful at all and Android would be better off without Motorola and their garbage phones, why but a Moto when there are better and cheaper phones like OnePlus and better phones for the price of a Moto Z2? The day Google sold Motorola to Lenovo is the day Motorola practically died.
  • Speak for yourself. I find the mods useful. And they have lasted through more than one phone. Fine, it's not for you. But the blanket statements are off the mark.
  • Moto makes great midrange phones like the Moto G5s/Plus for the price. Should definitely stay in the game for midrange phones
  • I agree.
  • Mods are a niche market, never going to sell in great numbers. Should stick to the E,G and X line of phones.
  • I bought 3 Moto X4 phones in the past month. Excellent device that they should be pushing harder. B the Z series isn't competitive (especially at the top end) so I don't see why they are doubling down on it?
  • The X5 was going to be my next phone. Oh well, I guess I will have to keep looking.
  • Too many phones not enough updates. The original Zplay was a very good phone. The battery king. Then they reduced the size of the battery in the z2play & Zforce. After that sales slumped. The mods too expensive. I have been saying the last year the Lenovo takeover sucks. Gee, I guess I was right!
  • Using a (battery) size reduced Z² with a Turbo Power mod and bumping up the energy capacity of the tandem up to 6500 mAh is actually a sensitive decision. The only hurdle for some is price of both the phone and the mod. And weight to carry maybe.
  • Focusing on products that it"believes can actually turn a profit.". What a revolutionary business idea!
  • Moto's we're always my phone until recently. Great software experience, but Google has taken their place in the flagship market, and then sold the low end off to Lenovo. Sad. Pixel is the way to go now.
  • Couldn't have said it better, Pixels and Nexus before them are were still the go to phones for the best Android experience but Motorola ran them close but since Lenovo bought them, they've gone downhill quickly, with their phones getting worse with each release and they suck with updates, Motorola are better off out of the game, they wouldn't be missed by the Android world when there are far better phones, and those overpriced "Moto Mods" are used gimmicks that serves no purpose, Motorola are better off dead and are an embarrassment in the Android world.
  • Geez strong words about a company my goodness where did Moto hurt you.
  • I had a bad experience using Motorola phones so excuse me for not shedding a tear over their demise, I liked them when Google owned them, when I had my Nexus 6.
  • From what I've been reading Jeff Bezos & Amazon are considering purchasing the Motorola name! That would be very cool. Bring back the Motorola name sake back where it belongs!
  • Moto fire phone, now without YouTube.
  • For me to buy another Moto phone they need to stop putting glass on the back and plastic on the front. The scratch prone shattershield screen on the Z2 was a deal breaker for me, although I couldn't bring myself to buy a phone with such a small battery. The glass back on the X4 was the same. Go back to the days of Motomaker and let me choose what I want on the back of my phone. I loved the feel of my old Motor X and nothing today comes close. I either have to worry about cracking a glass back or denting a thin metal back. End rambling, incoherent rant.
  • I'm a big Moto fan, they simply can't be beat in the $200 range.
  • How about getting rid of the number of phones on the E and G series? One E series phone with the Snapdragon 450, one G series phone with the Snapdragon 640, and keep the 2 Z phones? Make all phones Android One compatible and there you have it?
  • Let's see first I had the 2013 moto X, A good phone. Second the orginal turbo excellent phone 3900mamp battery. Third the turbo2, good phone. Fourth the Zforce another good phone. As you can see a moto fan. But all four, average camera's even after each generation they would state much improved camera, I found that not true. Then I had to pass on the z2force, downgraded battery, peeling display, no OIS with the camera which sucks. And a display you can scratch with a fingernail. So I switched company's. Since Google sold Motorola to Lenovo the takeover sucks as far as I'm concerned! You lost a great fan plus your mods are way to expensive. Now no X5, your 2018 outlook seems to be one of a struggling company. Sorry lenovo but you have made a mess out of the Motorola name!
  • I was quite fond of moto but no more. Too many confusing products. Poor software and OS updates. Gimping their phones to drive the sales of their motomods. They really deserve their demise.
  • That sucks, was considering getting the X5, was supposed to be a nice and good looking phone, no problems whatsoever with my X4.
  • Anyone else think they should dump the Z and keep the X? I sure do. If you can stay in that $350 range and make a decent profit on the X with the 600 series Snapdragons, you have a nice performing phone at competitive pricing. Granted, they probably will make the Z in more limited quantities going forward. The G series is really a great phone for the price. When someone is on a budget and asks me what to buy, I point them right to the G series. You get a really functional phone for $200-$250. That is the sweet spot. We have 3 of them in the family and all work well.
  • Yes - absolutely agree. I bought a Z2 Play but decided the X4 was a better phone. And then bought 2 more X4s for family members. I think the Z line and its mods could have a future, but the Z2 Force was awful. Not competitive in any way with similarly priced flagships. Worse camera. Worse battery. Worse body-to-screen ratio. Unbreakable screen was badly executed. Moto has perfected the art of the entry-level phone, the X series had them on the verge of owning the mid range market too.
  • G5, 5" screen, NFC, Gyro and Compass, Snapdragon 660, USB-C, decent camera. Sold.
  • I am withholding judgement. My Zplay is slated for Oreo. That will keep me content until fall. I got my in-laws an E4 as a spare phone on a different carrier to use while traveling. It was a surprisingly usable device. At this point, I am looking for something with a 600-series snapdragon, 4GB ram, a better camera than my zplay, 5hrs screen on time, a non-curved 5.5" screen, and either 128gb or an SD card and a company that does at least 2 major OS updates. Whatever hits that sweet spot will be my next phone.
  • Well that rules out Motorola for your next phone then, as you'll be lucky to get 1 update with them now and they'll most likely use the Snapdragon 400 series on their budget phones, you're better off buying a Chinese phone, I own an Oukitel K6 which is a Chinese midrange phone and runs what is pretty much stock Android 7.1.1 out of the box, you won't really get updates for it but that's fine with that phone as I really like Nougat, especially 7.1.1 I plan on getting a Pixel 2 XL when my financial situation is better as I'm a pure Google and stock Android lover.
  • Well that's a shame... I've been very happy with my three Moto phones over however many years. Each had a bloat free experience and lasted me a good long while each. I also thought that the Moto X4 was a beautiful looking phone. I normally wouldn't think of spending $300+ for a device, but if I needed a new Android device I'd have seriously considered the X line...