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Motorola's 5G Mod makes it to the FCC, launching soon

The 5G Moto Mod will give last year's 4G Moto Z3 ultra-fast 5G cellular capabilities. (Source: Motorola)
The 5G Moto Mod will give last year's 4G Moto Z3 ultra-fast 5G cellular capabilities. (Source: Motorola)
Motorola has been persisting with its Moto Mods line for a few years now, but one of its most interesting Mods has just passed through the FCC. The new Moto Mod 5G promises to make the Motorola Z3 the first smartphone with 5G capability on the market, although Samsung and LG might have other plans.

Lenovo-owned subsidiary Motorola is looking good on meeting its promise to give the Motorola Z3 and Z3 Play 5G cellular capabilities after its launch last year as just a 4G-capable smartphone. At its launch, Motorola announced that it would later ship a 5G Moto Mod to go with the device giving early adopters the confidence to go ahead buy it knowing they wouldn’t miss out on all the 5G buzz in 2019. That Mod has now passed through the FCC certification process suggesting that its launch is imminent.

Verizon’s 5G rollout has commenced and it also partnering with Samsung to bring the rumored 5G-capable Galaxy S10 variant to market in the first half of 2019. The Moto Mod will work on the same Verizon 5G network and uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem to give the snap-on Mod accessory its 5G compatibility. It also builds in an extra 2,000 mAh battery to help keep users juiced up as 5G connections are expected to also increase demands on smartphone batteries.

The advantages, however, are well worth it. Theoretically, a 5G connection should offer users the ability to download a full 4K resolution movie in several seconds. The 5G Moto Mod incorporates 10 antennas into its 7mm thick body to help make this sort of bandwidth possible – interestingly, Motorola says that when your fingers or hands make contact with an antenna, this will cause that antenna to deactivate to help protect the user from millimeter wave radiation using proximity sensors. 

Early 5G phones to include 5G built-in, like just leaked LG V50 ThinQ 5G, will incorporate exactly the same Qualcomm modem as the 5G Moto Mod. The only disadvantage with jumping into a smartphone with the technology embedded in the device itself is that Qualcomm hasn’t yet been able to marry the modem into the SoC, as it does with its current 4G modems. When it does, in second-generation iterations, battery life will significantly improve. The question is, can you wait until then, or do you just dive in right now?

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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2019-02-17 (Update: 2019-02-17)