By Andrew Levy
It’s been a long time coming, but the Moto X is finally here. At an event today in New York, Motorola finally pulled the covers off of the Moto X. We already knew a lot about the device based on leaks, advertisements, and press shots, like that the phone would have a 720p screen, that it would be made in America, and that it would lean heavily on some Motorola home-brewed sensors. In last month’s advertisement Motorola touted that the X would be “designed by you”. We now know that means users will be able to choose from a number of different colored and textured back plates (18 to be exact), different colored volume and power buttons, and either a white or black front cover. Does Motorola and Google’s first tag teamed phone live up to the months of hype it has received or will it flop hard?
As we suspected the Moto X is a mid range device. As I said before, it comes with a 4.7-inch 720p AMOLED display, which is the same size as the HTC One but with a lot less pixels. Pull the multicolored housing off the phone and you’ll again find a mediocre offering including Motorola’s “X8 Mobile Computing System,” which is basically a standard Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU with two in house Motorola-made chips bolted on, one for gesture controls and one for voice recognition. There’s 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage (AT&T customers can upgrade to 32G). The only really compelling aspect to the internals is the 2,200mAh battery, which according to Motorola allows up to 24 hours of battery with “mixed” usage. Additionally, there is a 10-megapixel rear facing camera, and a 2-megapixel front facing camera, both of which can shoot 1080p video. The Moto X also includes 802.11ac wireless (like the new MacBook Airs), NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and nano-SIM support. Though the internals do indeed sound a bit… lack luster, Motorola is claiming that the Moto X’s software has been optimized to take full advantage of the hardware, hitting the “sweet spot”.
As I mentioned above, users will have the opportunity to customize their Moto X with 18 different colored/textured back plates, 7 different colored accents (power/volume buttons and camera ring), and a black or white front face-plate. Unfortunately for the time being, only AT&T customers will have the opportunity to take advantage of customization. Every other carrier will feature the phone, but customers will only be able to choose from white or black.
So is Google and Motorola’s baby what we’ve been waiting for? Is it the messiah of phones? Despite its mid-rangedness the Moto X does sport a couple of really compelling user facing features. For example, Motorola estimates smartphone owners turn their phone on and off an average of 60 times per day to look at missed calls, texts, time, notifications, etc. To alleviate these hassles the Moto X will pulse when there are notifications available. The time will be on the middle of the screen, along with any missed notifications. Users can tap the notifications to look at them with out completely unlocking the phone. The Moto X will always be listening for “Okay Google Now,” and owners will be able to “shake the phone twice” to immediately open the camera app. Despite having the same size screen as the HTC One the Moto X is a lot smaller (65.3mm x 129.3mm), with much smaller bezels.
The Moto X will come with almost stock Android (4.2.2) but with a bit of carrier bloat-ware. Motorola is hoping to come out with quick updates for the phone, hopefully the fact that the device is launching without 4.3 isn’t an omen for the future. There is also a Google Play edition of the Moto X coming in the near future.
We’ll just have to wait and see whether or not the Moto X is all that its cracked up to be. Motorola is guessing that consumers will care quite a bit more about a customized user experience rather than hardware specs. They are also guessing consumers will pay a premium price for the same trade off. The Moto X will be sold from all four major carriers, as well as directly from Motorola and Best Buy for $199 ($249 AT&T only 32GB) on contract. There is no current release date for the Moto X.
Update: According to AT&T the Moto X will be $575 (16GB) and $625 (32GB) off-contract.
(images) source: Motorola, Engadget, The Verge, Android Police