The leaks surrounding Motorola’s hotly anticipated Moto X flagship continue to make waves, and now we’re learning of three new features that will be introduced with the smartphone, including new always-on voice commands, intuitive notifications, and gestures to quickly launch and activate the camera for mobile photographers. The Moto X is expected to debut in late August, with August 23rd being the date that’s being quoted right now, and will feature some unique Motorola customization options on the latest iteration of parent company Google’s Android operating system.
1. Always-On Voice
In a leaked video where the variant of the Moto X for Canadian carrier Rogers was shown, we’re learning that you can activate the Moto X at any time with your voice. Saying a phrase like “OK Moto Magic” even with the display turned off would launch Google’s voice search application to allow users to have access to Google Now without having to turn on their phone, unlock the device, and then opening up the Google Now app.
Always-on voice was a feature that was known to be coming to devices supporting Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 800 processor, like the rival Optimus G2 from LG that’s being rumored, but it looks like Motorola is working on its software to integrate with Google Now on a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor running at 1.7 GHz.
Potential Significance: The feature may be a precursor to Google’s foray into the car following rival Apple’s lead. Apple is attempting to help energize the car market with Siri Eyes Free and iOS 7 in the Car to help minimize distracted driving, and Google’s new always-on Google Now assistant could achieve similar aims for drivers. With a mounted Moto X smartphone, always-on voice would mitigate the need for drivers to fumble with their phones to dial a contact, or launch an app like Pandora, for example.
2. Dynamic Notifications
Motorola is doing away with LED notifications as the company feels that a blinking or glowing LED notification doesn’t give users much other information about what is awaiting their attention. Now, when the screen is asleep or off, the Moto X could pulse icons to show the notification. If you have a Facebook notification, for instance, a Facebook icon will pulse on the display to show that you have messages waiting for you in that app.
Potential Significance: Motorola’s notification system may allude to the fact that the Moto X will utilize an AMOLED panel, potentially either a 720p HD Super AMOLED or a 1080p HD Super AMOLED. Using an AMOLED display would allow the Moto X to have better battery life while still delivering dynamic notifications as the pulsing icon shown against a black display wouldn’t consume much power. On the other hand, LCD displays with the same notification engine would consume more power because LCD panels require backlighting.
3. Camera Launch Gestures
In a leaked video that has since been taken down and was detailed on Android Central, it appears that users can now launch the camera quickly using a “double-twist gesture.” It’s unclear if this will allow the camera to be launched on any screen–including while a third-party app is opened and in use, but the blog speculates this will be another “always-on” feature that would allow the camera to at least be launched even with the screen off.
This would allow users to have quick and ready access to the camera, without fumbling with unlocking the display and searching for the camera app or shortcut. It would also mitigate the need to have a dedicated camera shutter button, like on select Motorola Android smartphones in the past or on any number of Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 devices.
Potential Significance: As the camera is highlighted here as a feature, Motorola may be making significant improvement to camera performance. While prior Motorola Android smartphones, including flagships from its Droid lineup, did not have notable cameras, the company’s focus to allowing consumers the ability to quickly launch the camera may indicate that a more major change is happening under the hood. In the past, we’ve heard of Clear Pixel technology, and more recently there’s been chatter of image stabilization that could aid in low light photography without the need for a flash as well as more stabilized, blur- and shake-free video recording.