In its continuing bid to stay relevant in a competitive market, Motorola is trying to build up a community of hardware designers for the Moto Z's modular add-ons. Yesterday, the company brought together several winners of regional hackathons to a pitch event in Chicago, hoping to find the best of these innovative, indie creations. The judging panel -- which includes execs from Lenovo and Verizon -- selected two teams for up to $1 million in investment funding from Lenovo Capital, as well as eventual distribution by Verizon.
The winning teams include Digiframe, a mod by Andrius Valentukonis and Ilja Laurs that gives you a little widget-based sticky note screen on the back of your phone that shows important info without having to launch specific apps on your Moto Z. You can stick it to your fridge when it's not attached to your phone, too, so you can leave notes or to-do lists for roommates, family, or yourself.
The MACAY TrueSound HiFi, by Abigain Brown and Yousef Alsayid, puts an audio converter on your Moto Z. This winning hardware mod converts digital-to-analog as well as analog-to-digital signals and promises to give musicians and audiophiles a HiDef audio port for pro audio applications, like connecting to studio equipment or high-end speakers and headphones.
Runner-up projects include a wireless charging mod, a slider keyboard for those hardware-typist holdouts, an edge-notification mod, and a solar charger that attaches to your phone. The solar battery team won the top spot in the San Francisco hackathon last February.
All the Pitch Day participants will participate in the Moto Mods Accelerator Program, which provides engineering and design support. Remaining teams can continue to refine their projects through Motorola's developer portal and partnership with Indiegogo. The program also offers engineering feedback, design support, and hands-on coaching to help teams get their mods ready for prime-time.