Mobility

Motorola's Moto Z3: The first phone that can upgrade to 5G

The Moto Z3 features familiar hardware, plus the ability to add a modification that enables 5G access.

Motorola unveiled its new phone, the Moto Z3, on Thursday at a press event at its headquarters in Chicago. It is the first 5G-upgradeable smartphone on the market, and will allow users to access Verizon's 5G network by snapping on the 5G moto mod.

The Moto Z3 is the latest in the company's Z family of phones that feature magnetic backings to attach to Moto Mods—phone modules that allow users to customize your phone's look and feel, and increase the battery life, as reported by our sister site CNET.

The promise of 5G connectivity may be more exciting than the specs of the phone itself. However, it will only work in the areas where Verizon will launch residential broadband service later this year, which so far means Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and one more city that has yet to be named.

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

"5G will change the ways we live, work, learn and play," Nicola Palmer, Verizon's chief network engineer and head of wireless networks, said in a press release. "It will touch nearly every industry sector, impact our economy in a profound way and dramatically improve our global society."

The Moto Z3 includes similar features to other phones in the Z series, including all-day battery life with a fast charging option, dual 12-MP, depth-sensing smart cameras that work with Google Lens, and a nearly borderless 6" Super AMOLED display, according to the release.

The phone will also work with existing Moto Mods, including the Insta-Share Projector, the Moto 360 Camera, and the Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa, the release noted.

Motorola introduced the Moto Mods in 2016, but they never really caught on, CNET noted.

SEE: Moto Z3 specs vs. Galaxy S9, iPhone X, Oneplus 6 and Pixel 2 (CNET)

As noted by our sister site ZDNet, Motorola invented the cell phone 45 years ago, and its RAZR and Droid were groundbreaking products for their time. However, since the company was split into two in 2011, it's had fewer major wins, ZDNet noted.

The Moto Z3 will retail for $480, and will be available exclusively on Verizon in the US, at least for now.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • On Thursday, Motorola unveiled the Moto Z3, its new phone and the first on the market that can be upgraded to access 5G networks.
  • The Moto Z3 will retail for $480.
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Image: CNET

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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