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5 Thoughts on Google’s Motorola ‘X Phone’

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While there are rumors aplenty regarding several big name smartphones for 2013 including the Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 5S, HTC M7 and more, we hadn’t seen anything leak about a high-powered Motorola device, that is, until about a week ago when a device from Google and Motorola , dubbed the ‘X Phone’ partially revealed itself as a potential contender in 2013.

If a report from the Wall Street Journal is to be believed, and it’s generally a good source of accurate information, Google and Motorola are planning a device that will almost assuredly be competing against the likes of the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC M7, Nexus 4 and offerings from companies like LG and Sony. Information about the device is extremely light but here is what the report claims.

Motorola is apparently collaborating on a smartphone with Google. That device is currently dubbed ‘X Phone’ and evidently the companies were looking into a number of different technologies including flexible displays and different materials that would make for more color options and a stronger device. Motorola also apparently “wanted top-notch features for the phone’s camera and photo software, such as better color saturation and the ability to take panoramic shots.”

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The ‘X Phone’ could replace the Droid RAZR HD as Motorola’s high-end device. But will it be a Nexus?

The company also wants to incorporate technology from one of its acquisitions, Viewdle, adding imaging and gesture-recognition to the device’s software. None of those features panned out it seems, though, Motorola is still working to get the phone out in 2013. Just what this ‘X Phone’ might be though is completely unknown at this point and is the subject of quite a bit of speculation.

I wanted to speculate even further with some thoughts on this supposed ‘X Phone’ from Google and Motorola. Here are five of those thoughts about a phone that could potentially wind up being Motorola’s biggest launch of 2013.

Motorola Nexus, Yes Please

Ever since HTC released the Nexus One, I’ve been waiting for a Motorola-made Nexus smartphone from Google. Unfortunately, over the years, my dreams have been dashed by the likes of Samsung and LG. Next year though, if this ‘X Phone’ is indeed a collaboration, it could be that Motorola finally brings a Nexus to the market in the form of this phone.

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A Motorola Nexus sounds fantastic.

With Motorola hardware and pure Android software, my Android dreams would be realized. I’ve always loved the build quality of Motorola phones but hated the software on board so for me, this would be the best of both worlds.

Heck, it might even tempt me on Verizon, that’s how strongly I feel about Motorola hardware.

Motorola’s On a Roll

Something that also has me excited about the prospects of this phone is the new and improved Motorola which has really undergone a transformation with its leadership changes over the last few months. It’s communicative about major Android updates now and it even has rolled them out sooner than expected. It’s fantastic watching a company that really struggled with software turn it around and turn it around so quickly.

And I think that 2013 is really going to be the year that we see the fruits of Motorola’s new leadership and I think one of them, fruits I mean, will be this new high-end smartphone that really might put its previous releases, the Droid RAZR series included, to shame.

Release Date

Google I/O 2013 is going to be taking place in May instead of June or July and given that Google’s showed off a piece of hardware last year during Google I/O and there will likely be rumors that point to a ‘X Phone’ appearance at the event. Google will likely be announcing its new Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie operating system at this year’s Google I/O and because it announced the Nexus 7 last year alongside Android 4.1, I think it’s a possibility, but unlikely.

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A Google I/O introduction is possible but in my opinion, unlikely.

The Nexus 4 is selling very, very well when it’s actually on sale so Google won’t need to rush into selling a new Nexus. It can focus on revamping the Nexus 7, which also sold well in its six months, instead of opting for a brand new Nexus.

Of course, if Google is able to figure something out with a carrier, it would be fantastic to see it release a 4G LTE Nexus in the middle of the year to not only compete with other devices but to complement the Nexus 4.

At this point though, I think Google I/O is too soon and if this device is a Nexus, it will arrive to replace the Nexus 4 late in 2013.

Features

No doubt about it, this ‘X Phone’ will be feature rich. There is no possible way that Motorola, especially if it’s collaborating with Google, will release a flagship phone in 2013 that doesn’t at least take advantage of a few of Android’s big name specifications.

I think quad-core speeds are a given and it would be extremely odd to see the device launch without 1080p resolution given that the HTC Droid DNA is already out on the market and has been since November.

One area that I think Motorola really needs to focus on is the camera. The Droid RAZR phones really were letdowns in terms of camera quality so I’d hope that the company really focuses on that with this new phone. And given the fact that it originally set out to do just that, I bet it’s able to find some compromise that doesn’t absolutely kill the battery life.

Speaking of that, expect high quality battery life. Motorola has proved that it is keen on offering high-powered batteries, and it would be odd to see it revert to putting small batteries inside of its phones. The battery sizes are what has helped the Droid RAZR MAXX and Droid RAZR MAXX HD sell well and I think that trend will continue in 2013.

Don’t Get Too Excited

I am trying extremely hard not to get too excited about this phone given that the report suggests that it’s a collaboration which I think to mean Nexus, given that Motorola makes fantastic mobile hardware and given Motorola’s turnaround at the end of 2012. The report itself was extremely light on the details and it said that Motorola is aiming to get this phone out in 2013 not that it will.

I find it strange that we’ve heard about all of these big name smartphones already from Samsung in the Galaxy S4, iPhone in the iPhone 5S, HTC in the M7 and so on but we haven’t heard a peep about a Motorola device.

That could definitely mean that something big is coming but as I’ve learned in the Android world, rumors don’t always come to life and there’s no sense in getting worked up about something that only barely exists on paper.

At least not yet.

7 Comments

  1. David Knowles

    12/28/2012 at 2:32 pm

    I got a feeling this will not be a Nexus branded phone. I think Motorola should and will want to launch there own big brand name across the world along the lines of Galaxy for Samsung and Iphone for Apple. Something more unique than droid but not Razr mainly because I never likes the name and it also been devalue as a brand with the addition of other names.

    I expect Motorola logo will be tone down on the new device as well, they certainly should because it make there phones look ugly compare to it rivals and certainly has put me off buying them, yes I am shallow.

    The reason I suspect that Motorola will be launching a completely new brand is the rumour about the substantial marketing budget Google will be supplying to Motorola for the launch of the phone, which Google hasn’t done for any other Nexus devices and if Google were found to be doing that for Motorola other manufactures will start demanding the same deal, easiest way to avoid that scenario is to get Motorola to launch a new brand altogether.

    I think Motorola will also tone down it customisations and may even be the first mainstream, none nexus pure android device. This will allow Motorola to further speed up the roll out of updates.

    I doubt we will see flexible display in the phone, as I am sure Samsung will want to keep that technology to themselves for a while at least and they are the only ones even close to bringing them to market.

    There also a strong possibility that X phone is simply a joint design exercise inside Motorola and Google to build the most advance phone possible to see what the state, cutting edge camera and screen technology is in, what possible designs and features they allow, how they will affect battery life, how far they from market they are, the suppliers and supply chains and so fourth.

    We know Google attaches X to some projects it class as long shots or none core projects such as stuff done at Google X lab.

  2. KC

    12/29/2012 at 2:12 am

    Lately all the announced high-end smartphones have somewhat been missing or skimping on certain aspects of their products. Manufacturers and designers seem blur about what consumers want and how well informed they are, of the minimum basic technical specs, esp. for 2013 evices :

    - 4G/LTE et al
    - fast quadcore processor or higher (Tegra-4??)
    - good battery, preferably removable
    - LCD Type 3 display of 1080p or better
    - display of min. 4.7″ or higher
    - NFC, WiFi-Direct, GPS
    - Bluetooth v4, microUSB v3++
    - dual cameras (back 13Mp, front 4MP min)
    - 2GB RAm memory min.
    - 32GB internal phone storage
    - expansion slot for microSD card
    - slimness (7.0mm ot thinner)
    - solid durable body (polycarbonate or better)
    - solid sound system with good bass
    - standard SIM slot usable worldwide
    - Android 4.3 min. if avaliable

    and we hope that Motorola X will not turned out to be a real disappointment, like the Nexus 4 and most of the current latest ones – all talk, missing some of these basics and poor or slow arrival.

    Well, there’s always Google Glass if Moto-X fails !!!

  3. ALICIA

    12/29/2012 at 5:52 am

    I have had LGs, the Samsung S lll and Motorolas and although they all have similar tech, the Motorola is the most reliable for synching accounts. I use it a lot for work related issues. I just will like Motorola to get out of the conventional small phone. People are liking bigger phones, like the Samsung note ll is driving people crazy. Please Motorola developers, if you are working on a new phone go big, something like 6 or 6.5 in. You will see the sales go up….

    • John Karix

      01/26/2013 at 1:46 pm

      Yes actually I too have RAZR and my friend have a NOTE II and mine seems to be a kid…I would like to see a 5.5″( or above)1080P display on a Motorola build quality phone!!!I would go for it with no hesitation!

  4. Brandon

    12/29/2012 at 12:05 pm

    Other manufactures won’t demand the same “deal” Motorola gets specifically because Motorola isn’t getting any kind of deal. You are aware that Google owns Motorola right? It’d be like if HTC demanded Microsoft paid for the advertisement of their Windows 8 tablets simply because Microsoft paid for the advertisement of their own Surface tablet.

  5. Al

    12/29/2012 at 12:25 pm

    I think that at this point Google is using Moto’s tech-chops as a skunkworks division. I doubt that they will make a Google/Moto Nexus phone just yet, but a high end Moto phone influenced by Google (RAZR X sounds pretty hot right now) woulod be pretty sweet. However which way Google uses Moto at this point is still very exciting and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table in 2013. =)

  6. Able Lawrence

    12/31/2012 at 8:46 am

    Hopefully GoogleMoto solves the problem of updates through standardization and starts selling globally

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