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Motorola mystery: Is this a new Moto mobile?

A new blurrycam pic has appeared showing what looks like a Motorola device with USB Type-C and a front-fingerprint reader. Details and discussion within.
By
April 8, 2016

It’s nearing mid-April, and despite parent-company Lenovo doing lots of talking about Motorola and the company’s future, there has yet to be any new product announcements. Today however, a new blurrycam pic has appeared on hellomotoHK’s Google Plus account which has seemingly sighted a sample prototype in the wild:

Moto

The post contains the words “Moto Infinity” which may be hyperbole, or may perhaps suggest a new product line or rebranding.

Despite the seemingly simple scene spotted in the shot, there are some major talking points to tally:

  1. The device has a USB Type-C port on the bottom.
  2. The device has what looks to be a fingerprint sensor, and/or fingerprint sensor-home button hybrid located on the bottom bezel.
  3. The frame looks to be – but might not be – metallic.

In order to understand the mysterious markings monopolizing the top of the device, have a look at this picture of a Moto G prototype from last year:

Moto-G-2015-31-792x446

The top left corner has the OEM’s infamous logo, and the bottom has a message about confidentiality. In today’s blurry pic, the Motorolo logo can be made out in the upper left corner, and the legal note placed just above the top bezel.

“That front button”

Some may be surprised, if not put off entirely, by the potential placement of what looks to be a fingerprint sensor. This is all the more valid given that Mototrola has made it a point to include a dimple on the back of its hardware for the past several years. With respect to the Nexus 6 in particular, it was even stated by former Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside that such a dimple was indeed originally meant to house a biometric reader, though the feature was ultimately scrapped.

The possible answer to such a mystery can readily be found on the current crop of alleged photos that have been circulating the internet for some months now:

Moto Metal

The above picture, from a December 16, 2015 post, was part of a rumor that suggested the new Moto X (2016) will be made of metal. Note the bat-wing logo is clearly just an ordinary insignia; it appears neither dimpled nor a cut-out where a biometric reader could be placed.

While nothing specific was said about the contents of these images in the post – they were assumed to be unreleased phones by some commentators – in the left picture, several device frames looking exactly like the aforementioned December picture are clearly visible. The picture on the right, for reference, looks vaguely like a Moto X Play/Droid Turbo 2 or Droid Maxx 2 type product.

Given that it appears as if the rear of this mysterious metal Moto does not have room for a fingerprint sensor, it would thereby follow the company would need to place it on the front side like Samsung and HTC have. The placement does beg to ask however, what would become of the infamous dual grille design (seen in the picture below, for example). The blurry shot does not look like it has a bottom bar. Another question raised: of what nature would this fingerprint sensor be? Will it double as a home button?

What to make of this

Moto-X-Play-Hands-on-review
Sadly the current situation is anything but black-and-white until Moto spills the beans!

It goes without saying that despite the new evidence suggesting a new Motorola handset, there have been no official announcements from the company itself. OEMs can test dozens upon dozens of concept designs and prototypes for a single product, and even then there is no guarantee anything will ultimately come of it. Likewise, OEMs have also been known to put their product in dummy shells to disguise the surprise from spying eyes.

We do know however, that Lenovo/Motorola plans to make use of fingerprint sensors this year, and that the company is not afraid of trying some new things, at least for China:

  1. All Moto-branded devices to launch in 2016 will come with embedded fingerprint sensors.
  2. All Moto-branded products to launch in 2016 will have screen sizes of 5 inches, or larger.
  3. Moto-branded products will see their design fine-tuned to suit the needs of customers in both the East and West.
  4. Lenovo and Moto’s UI will be merged into a brand new UI to be unveiled in 2017.

Could be looking at the Moto X (2016)? Could it be some other product entirely? Assuming that the blurry pictures pictured in this post are legitimate, it would suggest that Motorola may have a very new design language in store for the year. With that said, please feel free to share your own take on this possible new make.