Exclusive: This is Motorola’s Next 5G Phone with a Curved “Waterfall” 90Hz Display
Motorola recently celebrated the success of its Moto G line, and later this month at MWC 2020, the Lenovo-owned company will introduce 3 new devices to the Moto G line. Alongside the new smartphones in the Moto G series, Motorola is also expected to launch two new high-end smartphones. Motorola notably hasn’t launched a flagship phone since the Moto Z3, and even that device could barely pass as a flagship given it featured a then year-old Snapdragon 835. Today, we’ve received the first live images of one of the two new Motorola devices from our trusted source, and we’ve also gathered a lot of information about the specifications and features of the two phones. We’ve heard the marketing name “Motorola One 2020” used in reference to these phones, though we aren’t 100% confident that Motorola will go ahead with this branding. In any case, here’s what we know.
The Motorola One 2020 Series
Design and Display
Smartphones with curved displays have been around for years since Samsung’s Galaxy Note Edge, but it’s only recently that we’ve seen curved displays that wrap almost entirely around the sides of the phone. The industry seems to have settled on the term “waterfall” to describe these extremely curved displays, and examples of these displays can be seen on the Vivo Nex 3 5G and Huawei Mate 30 Pro.
Motorola’s upcoming upper mid-range and flagship phones will feature really curved displays approaching “waterfall” status, though judging by the images I’ve received, the curved edges are slightly less dramatic than those on the Vivo or Huawei phones. XDA’s Max Weinbach, who has both the Vivo Nex 3 and Huawei Mate 30 Pro, agrees that the device seems to have an “80% waterfall” display. In one of the images we were sent, we see what appears to be a volume rocker on the right, a component that’s notably missing on the Vivo and Huawei phones. Motorola internally refers to the display as a “waterfall” display, though I don’t know if that’s how they’ll actually be marketing it. We’ll have to wait for the company to show the device to the press at MWC 2020 to confirm.
These images were sent to us by a trusted source. We edited out the background as well as any information on the screen that could potentially be identifying.
Another feature of the display is the single hole-punch in the top left corner where a front-facing camera resides. Motorola has used hole-punch displays on its smartphones in the past, starting with the Motorola One Vision, but the hole-punches on earlier smartphones were quite large. In contrast, the hole-punch on the upcoming Motorola One 2020 seems to be much smaller. I’m unsure if Motorola is using a Samsung-made OLED hole-punch display on these new phones versus the BOE-sourced LCDs on its older phones. What I do know is that these phones will be Motorola’s first to support higher-than-60 refresh rates—specifically, these phones will be capable of a 90Hz refresh rate at Full-HD+ resolution. Motorola will, therefore, be joining a growing list of brands offering smartphones with high refresh rate displays.
During Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit, Motorola confirmed that they would ship a phone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765/765G as well as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. Thus, it should come as no surprise to hear that these two phones are running on Qualcomm’s latest chips. The upper mid-range model is code-named “racer 5G” or just “racer” whereas the flagship model is code-named “burton,” though I’ve also heard it referred to internally as “racer turbo.” Both devices appear to have the same display, that being a 6.67-inch 2340×1080 curved panel running at a 90Hz refresh rate, though I can only truly confirm this to be the case for “racer 5G.” Racer 5G will have either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 or 765G, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a 48MP primary rear camera, a 4660mAh battery, support for NFC, and will run Android 10 out of the box. On the other hand, “burton” will have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 8 or 12GB of RAM, a 5170mAh battery, and will also run Android 10, though I don’t know any details about this device’s storage capacity, cameras, or connectivity.
I’ve heard the name “Motorola One 5G 2020” in reference to racer 5G and “Motorola One 2020” in reference to burton, which raises the question of why racer 5G’s marketing name has “5G” branding in its name while burton’s does not. Both the Snapdragon 765/765G and the Snapdragon 865 support 5G modems; in the Snapdragon 765’s case, the 5G modem (Snapdragon X52) is integrated into the SoC, while in the Snapdragon 865’s case, the 5G modem (Snapdragon X55) is a discrete, yet required unit. I don’t think it’s likely that the Motorola One 2020/burton will miss out on 5G connectivity, though it’s possible that Motorola may sell the device without 5G support enabled in certain markets to drive down costs. For instance, Motorola will very likely be selling burton in the U.S. on Verizon under the “Motorola Edge+” name, and it’s likely the carrier will market the phone as supporting its growing 5G network. The Motorola Edge+ branding was first revealed by Evan Blass late last month. The existence of this branding is corroborated by multiple benchmark listings for the Motorola Edge+ with build names referencing “burton_vzw,” CPU and GPU configurations matching the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, and overall scores matching those of devices based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 “kona” test platform.
|Display||6.67-inch 2340×1080 curved display @ 90Hz||6.67-inch 2340×1080 curved display @ 90Hz|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|Rear Camera(s)||48MP + ???||???|
|Connectivity||NFC, at least one variant with dual SIM||???|
|Software||Android 10||Android 10|
|Possible Marketing Name||Motorola One 5G 2020||Motorola One 2020/Motorola Edge+|
Motorola will launch several new software applications with the Motorola One 2020 series. The applications include:
- Moto Edge Assistant: An application to customize tap actions on the curved edges. The user can customize the edge area to minimize unintended actions, or they can customize a double-tap gesture to launch certain shortcuts such as switching between applications.
- Moto Gametime: An application to provide quick access to certain tools and settings to improve your mobile gaming experience. You can either tap a floating button or swipe in from one of the sides to access the toolbar. The toolbar can contain up to 2 application shortcuts that open in freeform multi-window mode when launched. In the settings of Moto Gametime, the user can choose to block notifications or incoming calls from interrupting gameplay, and the user can also lock the brightness level to prevent unintended adjustments from the auto-brightness.
- Moto Audio: An audio-tuning app that can automatically adjust the audio profile to best match the current content. For example, the voice profile can boost voice clarity during calls or voice recordings. The user can create profiles for audio accessories connected via Bluetooth or USB-C, or they can pick from existing profiles such as ones for gaming, movies, or music.
The Moto Edge Assistant app will be exclusive to the Motorola One 2020 series since those are Motorola’s only phones with curved edges. The Moto Gametime app may come to other Motorola devices such as the upcoming Moto G Stylus, though I’m unsure if the Moto Audio app will be available for other devices.
Launch Date and Pricing
We expect Motorola to unveil these two smartphones at MWC 2020 later this month. We don’t know when the phones will go on sale or at what prices they’ll be sold at. We’ll likely learn more information in the coming days leading up to MWC.