Last August, Motorola announced what might be the wind up being the world's first true 5G phone – the Verizon-exclusive Moto Z3 with an optional 5G Moto Mod. It's a snap-on module that the company promised would give you an insanely fast 5Gbps cellular connection, faster than most landlines these days. But Moto Z3 buyers had to take the company's word for that, because the 5G Mod would not be available until early 2019 when the Verizon 5G NR network was due to launch in the United States.
Well, the 5G Moto Mod just crossed the FCC today, and it came with a surprise in tow ̵
And one of those details is sure to be a surprise some people, even if it's not necessarily something anyone should really worry about. Namely, the 5G Moto Mod will feature a proximity sensor that will shut off any of its four-millimeter wave 5G antennas if your fingers get too close.
Here's a part of Motorola's description:
As mentioned in the device description, capacitive and Proximity sensors are used to disable transmission from a given mm-wave antenna array module when a user can be located in close proximity to the module and in the direction in which the module can transmit. The control mechanism is a simple one in which, if proximity detectors indicate the potential presence of the user in a roughly conical region in front of the module where power density can approach the MPE limit, that module is disabled from being used by the modem.
Before you react to this, a few things you should know:
- Millimeter wave radiation is considered non-ionizing – it does not have enough energy to tear apart living tissue.
- You've probably already encountered millimeter wave radiation if you've gone through an airport body scanner. The FDA says there are "no known adverse health effects" from this kind of dose.
- Motorola goes on to say that the proximity sensors are not the only way to shut off these antennas – the mod will also Motorola 19659011] But it's pretty interesting that Motorola felt the need to include such a system, and I'm curious if other 5G devices will have one too.
We previously learned that the 5G Moto Modes have practically all the guts of a high-end smartphone inside, including its own Snapdragon 855 processor, X50 5G modem, 10 antennas, and its own 2,000mAh battery so it does not ' It looks like a 7mm thick at its thickest point, meaning it'll be more than double the thickness of your admittedly fairly thin 6.75mm Moto. Z3 phone.
We still do not know how much 5G Mod will cost, or how fast a connection you can get in. Verizon's first 5G-equipped cities at launch – our early hands-on was hamstrung – but it's worth noting that Motorola's now only advertising is a conservative estimate of 300 to 500Mbps, compared to the 5Gbps it's theoretically capable of.
Oh, and I'll leave you with one final tidbit I spotted in the FCC filing, though you might want to take this with a grain of salt: A sentence that reads "It only functions when it's snapped into a 5G Mod-compatible smartphone device, such as the Moto Z3 Pro."
The rest of the filing is pretty clear that the Mod was only tested with the existing Moto Z3 – I cross I'd like to admit it was weird to see that Motorola avoided launching a new high-end flagship phone last year. It would not be completely surprising if the "Pro" version of the phone arrives alongside the Mod when it shows up for real. Maybe we'll hear something at Mobile World Congress next week?